Business Report: Jobless claims, grant money, hospital acquisition

For the fourth straight week, there was a drop in the number of New Jersey residents filing first-time unemployment claims. In the most recent week, just under 21,000 residents filed. Nationally, initial jobless claims numbers are also falling. It’s encouraging when the numbers drop, but there are still millions who remain unemployed. Meantime, New Jersey residents have until midnight Thursday to certify for additional federal unemployment benefits under the FEMA Lost Wages program.

The state is offering another $60 million in grant money to small businesses hurting financially due to COVID-19. The money will be used to fund businesses that applied previously but got waitlisted when the last round of funding ran out. The Economic Development Authority anticipates another 13,000 businesses will receive grants now.

RWJBarnabas Health is expanding again. The hospital chain has agreed to acquire Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth. The two health systems had been talking about this for a while, and RWJBarnabas has agreed to make capital investments in Trinitas, which will remain a Catholic hospital. RWJBarnabas also recently acquired St. Peter’s in New Brunswick.