Labor Dept.: N.J. unemployment claims, payments hit historic high

By Emily Bader
New Jersey | Jun 11, 2020 at 12:01 pm

The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development announced on Thursday a record number of unemployment claims and payments, even as the number of weekly applications fell for the fifth straight week.

Since the start of the pandemic (March 15) until June 6, the  labor department said 1.02 million New Jerseyans have claimed weekly benefits — the largest volume of claimants the NJDOL has ever served in such a short period of time. Of those, 94% have received an average payment of $1,050.

During that same 12-week time period, $6.25 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits were paid out.

“On the one hand, we have achieved so many milestones since COVID-19 shuttered our workforce – serving more than 1 million claimants and getting three new federal benefits programs up and running while paying record numbers of our traditional unemployment claims. On the other hand, there is so much more to do to ensure that every claimant gets their questions answered and receives their benefits in a timely fashion,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “As we begin to reopen our economy, and workers return to their jobs, I hope we learn from this pandemic to work with our federal partners to fortify our systems ahead of the next emergency.” 

The NJDOL said it took in 23,116 new unemployment claims for the week ending June 6, a 13% decrease from the week before, for a total of 1.2 million claims since March.

Additionally, there are 70,000 workers who have exhausted their benefits and have been notified to certify for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which provides an additional 13 weeks of benefits. Nearly 37,000 have made claims so far.

Nationally for the week, 1.542 million people filed for unemployment, a decrease of 355,000 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
Week 11 (May 24-30): 26,752
Week 12 (May 31-June 6): 23,116
Total: 1,215,167
The state said of the $6.25 billion in total benefits payout includes $2.1 billion in state unemployment payments since mid-March, $3.7 billion in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation  payments, $391 million in PUA payments, and $57 million in Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

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

Week

NJ UI

FPUC 

PUA 

PEUC

March 15-21

 $47.4 

NA

NA

NA

March 22-28

 $57.9 

NA

NA

NA

March 29-April 3

 $89.8 

NA

NA

NA

April 4-11

$140.7 

$154.8

NA

NA

April 12-18

$179.7 

$238.8

NA

NA

April 19-25

$211.1 

$296.3

NA

NA

April 26-May 2

$171.7 

$291.1

$27.1

NA

May 3-9

$244.7 

$502.4

$51.6

NA

May 10-16

$239.7

$414.0

$55.6

NA

May 17-23

$236.2

$596.9

$112.3

NA

May 24-30

$242.7

$553.5

$87.7

NA

May 31-June 6

$255.5

$635.2

$56.6

$56.6

Total

$2,117.1

$3,683.0

$390.9

$56.6

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