NJ Labor Dept.: Another 140K unemployment claims filed as payments surpass $600M

By Emily Bader
New Jersey | Apr 23, 2020 at 12:53 pm

The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development announced on Thursday it had received another 140,000 unemployment insurance claims filed for the week ending April 18. The figure raised the number of new jobless claims in the state to 858,000 since mid-March.

This is the second week in a row the number of claims hovered around 140,000 after two weeks of 200,000+ volume. During the first full week of the COVID-19 pandemic (which ended March 15), the number of new claims rose more than 1,600% to nearly 156,000.

Nationally, more than 4.427 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week, a decrease of 810,000 from the previous week’s revised level, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The figure has pushed the five-week total of coronavirus-related job losses to more than 26 million. The labor department said since mid-March, it has distributed $1 billion in COVID-19-related unemployment benefits.

Here’s New Jersey’s weekly totals of new unemployment claims since March 1:

March 1-7

7,996

March 8-14

9,467

March 15-21

155,815

March 22-28

206,253

March 29-April 4

214,836

April 5-11

141,420

April 12-18

140,139*

Flooded with unemployment applications like other states, the NJDOL said its top priority has always been to get benefits into the wallets of those who need it.

“We are working diligently on getting federal benefits to independent contractors, freelancers and self-employed workers whose incomes have dried up due to COVID-19, and continuing to reduce the number of claims requiring an agent review, so we can pay those workers quickly without running afoul of  U.S. Department of Labor requirements,”  Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said.

About 92% of new unemployment applications are being filed online at at myunemployment.nj.gov, the NJDOL said. Residents collecting unemployment should have also received their second $600 supplemental weekly benefit (for the week ending April 11) deposited into their accounts. The first payment was for the week of March 29 and will continue weekly through the end of July.

The state said it paid out $604 million in unemployment benefits for since March 2. The breakdown is as follows:

March 2-6

 $42.9 million

March 9-13

 $45.9 million

March 16-20

 $47.4 million

March 23-27

 $57.9 million

March 30-April 3

 $89.8 million

April 6-10

$140.7 million

April 13-17

$179.7 million

Emily Bader | ebader@roi-nj.com | @emilybader