Labor Dept.: Unemployment payments plummet as $600 supplement expires

The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development announced on Thursday it has paid out $316 million in unemployment benefits for the week ending Aug. 22, a sharp decline from the previous week.

The difference is due to the $600 weekly supplement, known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, expiring on July 25 without an extension from Congress. The program provided an additional $600 a week for anyone eligible for unemployment between April 4 and July 25. At the height of the program, a typical week paid out $500 million in FPUC payments, compared to the $70 million in back-week payments last week.

“It makes far more sense for Congress to extend the $600 supplement, which would require us to literally flip a switch to get those benefits flowing again,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo, said.

However, the labor department said it applied for a grant through FEMA’s Lost Wages Supplemental Assistance program, which would provide up to an additional $300 per week on a limited basis to eligible unemployment recipients.

“While we will take whatever steps are necessary to get as much federal assistance to unemployed New Jersey workers as possible, the FEMA program provides half the benefit and only to a fraction of unemployed individuals and families struggling under the weight of this continuing pandemic,Asaro-Angelo, said. “It will end as soon as the funding runs out in a few weeks, it excludes people whose unemployment is not a direct result of COVID, and it requires a separate application process that has not even been created yet.” 

Overall for the week ending Aug. 22, the department said it received 20,175 new unemployment applications, a 21% decline week-over-week. Out of all the applications received so far, 1.34 million have been eligible. Of those, 96% have been paid. Nationwide for the week, about 1.01 million people filed for unemployment for the first time, a decline of 98,000 from last week’s total, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

New Jerseyans that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and have claimed extended benefits rose to 16,123 with the total payout to this group at more than $37 million. Up to 20 weeks of extended benefits kick in when all other federal and state benefits have been exhausted.

New Jersey’s weekly totals 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
Week 22: (Aug. 16-22): 20,175
Total
: 1,517,911

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 

Aug. 16-22 

$167.3 

$70.3 

$52.1 

$20.4 

$6.7 

Total    

$4,406.3 

$8,430.6 

$1,185.4   

$374.6  

$37.4