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NJ Weekly Unemployment Claims Jump 25% as Pandemic Pushes Benefits Applications Past 1.6M

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Trenton NJ,  The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) received 24,663* initial unemployment claims last week, a 25 percent increase over the previous week, as the number of workers seeking jobless benefits now tops 1.6 million since COVID-19 forced many businesses to close six months ago.  

NJDOL has distributed $15.6 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits to workers who lost their jobs, were furloughed, or had their hours reduced in the pandemic, including $286 million for the week ending Sept. 19. 

“New Jersey workers continue to struggle with the weight of unemployment and underemployment, and the accompanying financial worries of not having a job,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “The Labor Department staff knows the difficulties our customers are facing, so they work hard every day to resolve as many cases and answer as many questions as possible.” 

Of those who have sought unemployment, 1.4 million have met the monetary requirements for benefits. Of those, 96 percent have received payment, with an average benefit of $11,690 per claimant.  

Additionally, the Department has been approved for six weeks of funding through FEMA’s Lost Wages Supplemental Assistance (LWA) program. The funding gives eligible claimants $300/week in addition to their other unemployment benefits for a limited time. Programming will be in place next month to distribute lump sum payments. 

Here is a look at the number of new unemployment claims received by the department each week: 


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