NEW JERSEY – The number of new unemployment claims rose by 10 percent last week, to 27,168*, the second straight week New Jersey has seen a jump in weekly claims.
The increase is primarily in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a federal benefit available under the CARES Act to help workers who are not eligible for regular unemployment. A 25 percent increase in new claims was recorded in the prior week, also due primarily to more people filing claims for PUA.
More than 1.6 million New Jersey workers have sought unemployment benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to close six-and-a-half months ago. Of those, 1.4 million have met the monetary requirements for eligibility, and 96 percent of them have received payment. The average claimant has received $11,808 in benefits.
“Newly laid off workers are anxious to know whether they are eligible for benefits and how much they will receive, so we are constantly improving technology and adding applications to get them answers,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “Recent innovations by our I.T. team have enabled us to move thousands of appointments online and shave several weeks off the wait time to resolve certain complex claims.”
NJDOL has distributed $15.9 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits to workers who lost their jobs, were furloughed, or had their hours reduced in the pandemic, including $288 million for the week ending Sept. 26.
New Jersey is also starting to see workers exhaust their benefits. Last week, 3,050 claimants exhausted Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which provides 13 weeks of federal benefits for those who exhaust 26 weeks of state unemployment. Most of them are able to transition to 20 weeks of state Extended Benefits (EB). Also last week, 54 individuals exhausted EB.
Here is a look at the number of new unemployment claims received by the department each week:
*This represents the final number for the week ending Sept. 26. The number listed for New Jersey by the US Department of Labor – 26,270 – is based on advanced reporting.
Here is a look at the weekly payments made by the Labor Department to eligible claimants:
PUA, PEUC and FPUC are federal programs authorized by Congress under the CARES Act. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides benefits through the end of the year; maximum eligibility is 46 weeks, including extended benefits. Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides 13 weeks of federal benefits for those who exhaust 26 weeks of state unemployment. State extended benefits (EB) automatically offers an additional 20 weeks of assistance once PEUC ends. Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provided $600/week to everyone eligible for unemployment for the weeks of April 4 through July 25. Congress has thus far failed to extend the program.
For more information on state or federal unemployment programs, visit myunemployment.nj.gov.
Anyone looking for work is encouraged to visit New Jersey’s jobs portal — jobs.covid19.nj.gov — which matches jobseekers with immediate openings in industries such as food distribution, warehousing and health care.