Labor Dept.: N.J. unemployment benefit payouts hit $3.4B, number of new cases declines

By Emily Bader
New Jersey | May 21, 2020 at 12:06 pm

The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development announced on Thursday it has distributed $3.4 billion worth of unemployment benefits in New Jersey since the COVID-19 pandemic began mid-March.

In the nine weeks since the coronavirus began, more than 1.1. million new claims have been filed in the state.

For the week ending May 16, 42,365 new applications were received by the department — the lowest weekly total of new claims since mid-March — and 139,000 more federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims were paid out. Also, unemployed and underemployed workers claimed 902,000 weeks worth of benefits (which includes backdated weeks) for a weekly payout of $710 million in federal and state funds.

“We’re very pleased to see the balance begin to shift this week with the number of new claims trending downward and the number being processed curving upward,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “Our only focus remains getting benefits into the bank accounts of every worker as quickly as possible.”

The department said it has increased its communications, letting claimants know by email and text the status of their applications and when they can expect to start claiming them.

Nationally for the week, 2.438 million people filed for unemployment benefits, a decrease of 249,000 from the previous week’s total, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Here’s New Jersey’s weekly totals of new unemployment claims since the virus hit:

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

April 19-25

71,996

April 26-May 2

88,326

May 3-9

69,689

May 10-16

42,365

Total

1,130,839

The state said it the $3.4 billion in benefit payments includes $1.4 billion in state unemployment payouts since mid-March, $1.9 billion in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments and $134 million in PUA payments.

The weekly breakdown is as follows (in millions):

Week

NJ UI Payment

FPUC Payment

PUA Payment

March 15-21

 $47.4 

X

X

March 22-28

 $57.9 

X

X

March 29-April 3

 $89.8 

X

X

April 4-11

$140.7 

$154.8

X

April 12-18

$179.7 

$238.8

X

April 19-25

$211.1 

$296.3

X

April 26-May 2

$171.7 

$291.1

$27.1

May 3-9

$244.7 

$502.4

$51.6

May 10-16

$239.7

$414.0

$55.6

Total

$1,382.7

$1,897.4

$134.3

Workers who have exhausted their 26 weeks of unemployment benefits are now eligible for federal PEUC and will be able to register for an additional 13 weeks on Sunday.

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