Labor Dept: Unemployment claims rise as benefits payout tops $14B

The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development said it has distributed $14.1 billion in unemployment benefits and has received 1.5 million applications for benefits from out-of-work New Jerseyans since the COVID-19 pandemic began mid-March.

For the week ending Aug. 15, the department received 25,405 new unemployment applications, an increase of approximately 11,500 new weekly claims since last week. Many of these applications are for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, the federal income replacement benefit for workers who do not qualify for traditional unemployment.

“We’re moving claims forward for workers whose income has dried up due to COVID or who cannot return to their place of work because of the virus,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo, said. “We are currently paying benefits to as many as 300,000 people who do not qualify for traditional unemployment — this is an entirely new population of people who are receiving benefits in addition to the record numbers of ‘regular’ claimants who are in need, often for an extended period, during the pandemic.” 

Nationally for the week, 1.106 million people filed for unemployment for the first time, an increase of 135,000 from last week’s total, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

New Jersey’s weekly total of new 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
Week 13 (June 7-13): 26,392
Week 14 (June 14-20)33,004
Week 15 (June 28-July 4): 47,391
Week 16 (July 5-11): 38,150
Week 17 (July 12-18): 25,804
Week 18 (July 19-25): 28,063
Week 19: (July 26-Aug. 1): 
16,573
Week 20: (Aug. 2-8): 13,822
Week 21: (Aug. 9-15): 25,405
Total: 1,497,736

Here’s the weekly breakdown of payments (in millions):

Week Paid   

NJ UI    

FPUC     

PUA     

PEUC   

EB  

March 15-21    

 $47.4     

NA    

NA    

NA   

NA  

March 22-28    

 $57.9     

NA    

NA    

NA   

NA  

March 29-April 3    

 $89.8     

NA    

NA    

NA   

NA  

April 4-11    

$140.7     

$154.8    

NA    

NA   

NA  

April 12-18    

$179.7     

$238.8    

NA    

NA   

NA  

April 19-25    

$211.1     

$296.3    

NA    

NA   

NA  

April 26-May 2    

$171.7     

$291.1    

$27.1    

NA   

NA  

May 3-9    

$244.7     

$502.4    

$51.6    

NA   

NA  

May 10-16    

$239.7    

$414.0    

$55.6    

NA   

NA  

May 17-23    

$236.2    

$596.9    

$112.3    

NA   

NA  

May 24-30    

$242.7    

$553.5    

$87.7    

NA   

NA  

May 31-June 6   

$255.5   

$635.2   

$56.6   

$56.6   

NA  

June 7-13   

$244.5   

$573.8   

$60.7   

$46.5   

NA  

June 14-20   

$248.9   

$626.1   

$86.6   

$37.4   

NA  

June 21-27   

$240.4   

$559.7   

$73.5   

$31.7   

NA  

June 28-July 4   

$202.9   

$536.1   

$71.7   

$31.8   

NA  

July 5-11  

$208.5  

$521.3  

$69.1  

$24.4  

$2.2  

July 12-18 

$209.3 

$524.5 

$65.2 

$22.7 

$3.9 

July 19-25 

$197.7 

$526.2 

$77.0 

$25.7 

$4.8 

July 26-Aug. 1 

$192.1 

$513.5 

$74.7 

$33.7 

$6.5 

Aug. 2-8 

$202.6 

$200.8 

$86.1 

$20.0 

$6.2 

Aug. 9-15 

$175.0 

$95.3 

$77.8 

$23.7 

$7.1 

Total    

$4,239. 0 

$8,360.3 

$1,133.3   

$354.2  

$30.7