TRENTON (New Jersey) – The number of people seeking unemployment benefits in New Jersey has grown 10 times over the same time last year due to the economic cost of the coronavirus outbreak that now has almost 100,000 active cases across the state.

“Since March 15, more than 858,000 New Jerseyans have filed for unemployment benefits,” said Gov. Phil Murphy in his Thursday COVID-19 update. “Just to put that in context, one year ago that total number collecting unemployment was less than 10% of that, 84,000.”

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Although $1 billion in unemployment benefits have been given out since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Murphy acknowledged many continue to face delays in reaching the Department of Labor for help.

“No one will be denied one penny of the benefits they deserve,” said Murphy.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The governor again urged people to seek unemployment help online through the covid19.nj.gov website, or look to jobs.covid19.nj.govfor more than 64,000 jobs listed for 740 employers looking for employees in essential jobs.

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More than 4.4 million American workers applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week as job cuts escalated across the country, the government said Thursday.

About one in six American workers have now lost their jobs since mid-March, by far the worst string of layoffs on record. Economists have forecast that the unemployment rate for April could go as high as 20%

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In terms of medical numbers, New Jersey saw 4,247 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising the total to 99,989 cases linked to a total of 5,368 – a rise in 307 new fatalities.

  • 7,240 hospitalized
  • 1,035 in critical or ICU care
  • 91 patients at field medical stations
  • 752 discharged

In terms of testing for COVID-19 infections, Murphy praised a new saliva-based method developed by Rutgers University that will go into widespread use by the state in addition to several local hospitals.

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“Without testing, we will not be able to take the necessary steps to contain future cases and prevent them from becoming ‘boomerang’ outbreaks, said Murphy.