TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – While the rate of COVID-19 infections continues to drop in New Jersey, the economic toll is growing as now 1 in 7 working-age adults in the state are seeking unemployment benefits from a system crippled by the massive backlog of claims.
In April, the state saw a loss of 757,700 jobs, said Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo.
There have been 1.1 million initial unemployment claims since March 15.
“Just 10 months ago, the governor reported the lowest unemployment rate since record-keeping began in 1976,” he said Thursday. “Now we’re reporting the highest as we find our state at 15.3% unemployed in the Garden State, a level not seen since February of 1992.”
More than $3.4 billion in benefits have been paid out to workers so far, including $1.4 billion in regular unemployment insurance payments and $2 billion in federal assistance.
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
“We aren’t just talking about numbers,” said Asaro-Angelo. “We hear the impact reflected in the stories of our claimants, hard-working New Jerseyans using unemployment for the first time, and those who have exhausted their benefits and need a little more help.”
An estimated 70,000 people were already out of work before coronavirus hit New Jersey. The Labor Department will begin to notify these people this week about a 13-week extension to their support under the Federal Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program.
“Many of these workers were unemployed before the pandemic began, and the situations obviously made their job search exponentially more difficult,” said Asaro-Angelo.
“We are carefully watching every indicator that could tell us when it’s OK for more people to get back to work, and as we hit those marks, we will continue with a responsible and deliberate restart,” said Gov. Phil Murphy.
- Resources, Hotlines, Unemployment & Covering Bills
- Remote Learning Tools For Parents Teaching At Home
- Ask Dr. Max Your Health Questions
- How Make Your Own DIY Face Mask
- How To Safely Remove Disposable Gloves
- Tips For Parents To Help Kids Cope
- Chopper 2 Over Empty NYC Streets, Landmarks
- Complete Coronavirus Coverage
New Jersey saw a rise in 1,304 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the state during the previous 24 hours, bringing New Jersey’s total to 151,472 cases since the first confirmed test was tracked on March 4. In terms of fatalities, an additional 98 people died from COVID-19-related illness, bringing the state’s toll to 10,843 confirmed deaths.