Labor Dept.: N.J. unemployment payout hits $4.3M, more receive federal assistance

Labor Commish: 'Our department has made major strides over the past two weeks in getting more benefits to more eligible New Jerseyans'

By Emily Bader
New Jersey | May 28, 2020 at 11:38 am

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced on Thursday it has distributed $4.3 billion worth of unemployment benefits in New Jersey since the coronavirus pandemic began mid-March.

The NJDOL said a record 1.1 million benefits certifications were processed for the week ending Saturday as nearly 90,000 new claims were made eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA.

For the week ending May 23, 34,410 new claims were filed, down nearly 8,000 since last week and the lowest weekly total since mid-March. Employees in casinos, retailers, food service, restaurants and airlines are among the hardest hit industries, the NJDOL said.

Over the past 10 weeks, nearly 1.2 million workers who have been impacted by COVID-19  have filed for unemployment. During that period, 911,424 claimed benefits.

Nationally for the week, 2.123 million people filed for unemployment, a decrease of 323,000 from last week’s total, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

New Jersey’s weekly total of unemployment claims:

Week 1 (March 15-21): 155,815
Week 2 (March 22-28): 206,253
Week 3 (March 29-April 4): 214,836
Week 4 (April 5-11): 141,420
Week 5 (April 12-18): 140,139
Week 6 (April 19-25): 71,996
Week 7 (April 26-May 2): 88,326
Week 8 (May 3-9): 69,689
Week 9 (May 10-16): 42,365
Week 10 (May 17-23): 34,410
Total: 1,165,249

The state said the $4.3 billion in total benefits payouts includes $1.6 billion in state unemployment payouts since mid-March, $2.5 billion in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments and $247 million in PUA payments.

About 70,000 people who were unemployed before the pandemic are now eligible for a 13-week extension on their benefits, the NJDOL said.

Our Department has made major strides over the past two weeks in getting more benefits to more eligible New Jerseyans,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “We have cleared many of the claims that had issues, have now paid out most of the PUA claims, and have started to process extended benefits.”

Ansaro-Angelo said the department is currently addressing claim issues, such as income verification, the employer contesting the separation, insufficient wage reporting, work history, and more.

“We know how tough it has been for these claimants to try to stretch their last paycheck, or have to borrow money, or go to a food pantry, or delay paying their rentWe are trying to resolve their claim issues and pay all eligible claims quickly, Ansaro-Angelo said.

New Jersey’s weekly breakdown of payments (in millions):

Week

NJ UI Payment

FPUC Payment

PUA Payment

March 15-21

 $47.4 

NA

NA

March 22-28

 $57.9 

NA

NA

March 29-April 3

 $89.8 

NA

NA

April 4-11

$140.7 

$154.8

NA

April 12-18

$179.7 

$238.8

NA

April 19-25

$211.1 

$296.3

NA

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

May 17-23

$236.2

$596.9

$112.3

Total

$1,618.9

$2,494.3

$246.6

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