Business Report: Jobless claims fall, new EDA grant program, data breach settlement

The number of NJ residents filing for new unemployment claims dropped to the lowest level since mid-March

There’s some encouraging news on the labor market. The number of New Jersey residents filing for new unemployment claims has dropped to the lowest level since mid-March. Just over 12,000 new claims were filed in the most recent week. We’ve seen new filings trend downward now for six weeks in a row. Nationally, unemployment claims are heading in the other direction, with the number of new claims rising.

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is working to get its latest grant program up and running. The program, called Sustain and Serve, is designed to help restaurants. Nonprofit organizations will be able to use grants to buy meals in bulk from restaurants struggling during the pandemic, and those meals will then be served to residents in need. Up to $2 million in grant money will be available. The EDA is looking to kick off the new program next month.

The state Board of Public Utilities has ordered a review of JCP&L’s finances. The move comes after Wall Street credit rating agencies lowered their ratings on the utility and JCP&L’s parent company, FirstEnergy, following a bribery scandal in Ohio. At present, the Board of Public Utilities does believe JCP&L’s finances are sustainable.

Home Depot has reached a $17.5 million settlement over a 2014 data breach. The breach affected millions of customers who used self-checkout stations at Home Depot stores. Hackers were able to access data from the customers’ payment cards.