Business Report: Job creation lags, unemployment claims review, utility moratorium extended

New programming is in place to speed up review of unemployment claims hitting the one-year mark

Private companies across the U.S. created 117,000 jobs last month, Roseland-based ADP said Wednesday; analysts were expecting to see a much higher number of new jobs. ADP’s chief economist said larger companies are still feeling the effects of COVID-19. Most of last month’s hiring occurred in the trade and transportation sector, along with utilities.

The state labor department says it has new programming in place to speed up review of unemployment claims hitting their one-year mark. It was about a year ago that COVID-19 shutdowns led to mass layoffs and the department says it’s got more than 100,000 claims to review this month. The reviews are mandated by the federal government. Meantime, the department says that residents who have been collecting unemployment for a year should continue to certify on a weekly basis and not open a new claim because that could result in a delay in benefits.

Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday gave some breathing room to residents struggling to pay their utility bills by signing an executive order extending the ban on all utility shut-offs due to lack of payments. The moratorium has been extended from the middle of this month until June 30. The governor said the state will continue to work on easing the burden for residents who are behind on their bills. An estimated $700 million in gas, electric and water bills is owed.

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