More than 47,000 New Jersey workers filed initial unemployment claims during the week ending July 4, a 70% jump from the prior week, according to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
The agency indicates two groups made up much of the increase, furloughed state workers and those laid off when the school year ended in June.
The department sent $843 million to claimants during a week that was shortened because of the July 4 holiday. Total payments reaching New Jersey workers topped $9.9 billion since mid-March.
“The number of people in need is staggering. We’ve had 1.35 million applicants since mid-March; 1.2 million of them have met the earnings requirements to receive benefits, with 96% of them having received payment,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo.
Also last week, the labor department began offering 20 weeks of extended unemployment to New Jersey workers who have exhausted their state and federal jobless benefits, bringing to 59 the maximum number of weeks of benefits eligible claimants may receive. Claimants are automatically enrolled in extended benefits as their federal extension ends. They do not need to contact an agent or reapply.