Pandemic Jobless Relief to NJ Workers Tops $22.8B, Labor Department Reports
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 18, 2021
TRENTON – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development distributed $455 million in unemployment benefits last week, which increased the total of pandemic-related jobless relief to $22.8 billion.
The unprecedented increase in unemployment benefits is a primary reason the personal income of New Jerseyans rose 7.3 percent during the third quarter over the prior year, despite the ongoing pandemic, according to research from Pew Charitable Trusts released Wednesday. New Jersey is one of seven states that saw a greater than 50 percent increase in government aid from the same period in 2019.
The Department received 11,563* new unemployment claims last week – 4,629 fewer than the week prior, which is a week-over-week drop of nearly 29 percent, and the lowest number of new initial claims since the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered businesses in mid-March of last year.
The number of initial unemployment claims has averaged around 16,100 per week for the prior four weeks. The number of initial unemployment claims received since mid-March of 2020 now surpasses 2 million*, more than at any other point in history.
“Department of Labor staff are reminded every day of the tremendous toll COVID-19 is taking on New Jersey workers and businesses,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. “That’s why we are pushing forward on dual fronts – first, and foremost, serving workers in need, and secondly, urging Congress to pass a new, comprehensive and long-term relief bill before current benefits expire on March 13, which could leave millions of workers across the country temporarily and devastatingly without benefits.”
The average per claimant benefit is now $15,550. Approximately 84 percent of active claimants have received more than $10,000 in benefits; 60 percent have received more than $20,000; and 20 percent have received more than $30,000.
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 Feb. 13. The number listed for New Jersey by the US Department of Labor – 10,949 – is based on advanced reporting.
**This number includes 224,800 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.