Business Report: Aiding businesses, economy rebound, unemployment numbers

Fewer unemployment claims this week for New Jersey residents

State lawmakers Thursday approved several bills designed to help the state’s businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. One would allow businesses to avoid a massive spike in unemployment insurance payroll taxes next year by spreading out the payments over several years. The payroll tax is used to finance the state’s unemployment trust fund, which has been depleted due to the big increase in jobless claims this year.

The U.S. economy grew at its fastest clip ever in the third quarter. The federal government reported that gross domestic product, or GDP, surged 33.1%. That huge gain reflects a bounce back as businesses began reopening. But the economy hasn’t fully recovered from the pandemic-related plunge earlier in the year. One economist at Moody’s Analytics believes the economy won’t be back to pre-pandemic levels until next spring, but warned the job market might not fully recover until perhaps 2023.

The unemployment numbers this week show some improvement, as fewer New Jersey residents filed for first-time claims compared to the prior week. Just over 27,000 new claims were submitted, a drop of 5%. Since March, though, a staggering 1.74 million residents have applied for unemployment.

The city of Trenton is launching an initiative to help its residents find work, according to Mayor Reed Gusciora. The new Job Creation Program would provide up to $250,000 worth of funds for low-interest loans to businesses in order to help them hire more workers.