Business Report: Hiring rebound, federal aid for Plainfield, JCP&L customers could see bigger bills

New Jersey-based ADP says private companies across the country hired 978,000 new workers last month

The hiring rebound looks to be in full force based on new jobs numbers out Thursday. New Jersey-based ADP says private companies across the country hired 978,000 new workers last month. That’s the biggest gain since last June. Most of the gains were in the hospitality industry. And the number of workers filing new unemployment claims continues to drop. In the latest week, new claims dropped below 400,000 for the first time since March of last year.

The city of Plainfield has been awarded close to $24 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds. At a press conference Thursday, Mayor Adrian Mapp said the money will be used to provide tax relief. And there’s more; the mayor said Plainfield will allocate about $1 million each for a small-business assistance program and a program to provide rental assistance once an eviction moratorium is lifted. Money will also be spent on employment programs.

Some JCP&L customers could soon see higher bills. The utility has resumed indoor meter reading, something that had been suspended since March last year due to the pandemic. JCP&L says customers with indoor meters have been receiving bills based on estimated monthly electric usage but once the new meter readings are taken, bills could be adjusted higher. JCP&L says with residents spending more time at home throughout the pandemic, many customers were using more electricity. Meantime, JCP&L is launching new energy efficiency programs starting July 1 for both residential and commercial customers.

A big New Jersey employer — Amazon — says it will no longer screen job applicants for marijuana use, except for those positions regulated by the U.S. Transportation Department. Amazon says it will treat marijuana the same way it treats alcohol use. It will continue to do impairment checks on the job and will test for drugs and alcohol after any incident. Amazon says it supports legalizing marijuana at the federal level.

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