NJ Labor Dept. Reports Slight Dip in New Unemployment Claims
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2021
TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development reported a slight decrease in new unemployment applications last week, as it distributed the third week of supplemental $300 payments to nearly 600,000 workers currently collecting benefits.
For the week ending Jan. 23, the Department reported 16,618* initial unemployment claims, a decline of about 150 claims – or 1 percent – from the prior week. Nearly 2 million** initial unemployment claims have been received since the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in mid-March. Eligible claimants have received, on average, $14,930 in benefits.
Meanwhile, the third week of $300 payments, made available in the latest federal COVID-19 stimulus act, has been transferred to unemployment claimants’ direct deposit accounts or debit cards. Total disbursement for the three payments was $450 million.
“After the Continued Assistance for Unemployed Workers Act was signed on Dec. 27, our Department prioritized getting these payments to claimants as quickly as possible because they benefit every New Jersey worker currently on unemployment,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo.
Labor departments across the country are focused on completing the programming needed to administer another benefit in the new COVID-19 relief act, the 11-week extension of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), to claimants whose benefits expired.
A small percentage of claimants is experiencing a disruption in benefits primarily because the new relief bill was passed and signed so close to the expiration of CARES Act funds, which did not allow states enough time to reprogram their systems.
“We have great empathy for these claimants,” Asaro-Angelo said. “There are literally hundreds of thousands of workers across the country in the unfortunate situation of experiencing a disruption in their benefits.”
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Here are the week-by-week totals of new unemployment claims:
Here is the breakdown of weekly benefits payments to eligible New Jersey workers:
PUA and PEUC were authorized by Congress under the CARES Act through Dec. 26, then extended under the Continued Assistance to Unemployed Workers Act through March 13, 2021. The maximum eligibility for PUA is now 57 weeks. PEUC now provides up to 24 weeks of additional benefits to those who exhaust 26 weeks of state unemployment. Extended benefits (EB) adds a final 20 weeks of benefits. The renewed FPUC benefit is a $300/week unemployment supplement for anyone collecting unemployment in any amount; the original program, which provided $600/week in supplemental benefits, expired in July. Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) was funded by FEMA and provided six weeks of supplemental benefits to people unemployed Aug. 1 through Sept. 5 due to COVID.
For more information on state or federal unemployment programs, visit myunemployment.nj.gov.
Visit New Jersey’s jobs portal here: jobs.covid19.nj.gov.
*This represents the final number for the week ending Jan. 23. The number listed for New Jersey by the US Department of Labor – 13,915 – is based on advanced reporting.
**This number includes claims that have been reopened by residents who returned to unemployment after a period of employment within a calendar year, as well as claims that later turned out to be fraudulent.