Business Report: Unemployment claims, student loan payment moratorium, wind energy industry grants

President Joe Biden extended the pause on federal student loan payments through at least September

The latest snapshot of New Jersey’s job market shows fewer workers are filing new jobless claims. According to the state labor department, just under 17,000 workers applied for unemployment for the first time in the most recent week. That’s a drop of 23% from the prior week.

Student loan borrowers are getting a break under one of the executive orders signed by President Joe Biden on his first day in office. He has extended the pause on federal student loan payments through at least September. It had been set to expire at the end of the month. Biden also signed an executive order extending the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through the end of March.

Revenue collections surged in New Jersey in December, but the state Treasury called that a temporary boost, as it reflected a change in the timing of when some businesses are paying their taxes. Income tax collections are lagging behind last year’s numbers, but sales tax collections are up.

There’s an opening for some companies to participate in New Jersey’s growing wind energy industry. Ørsted, the company selected by the state to build a wind farm off the South Jersey coast, announced a $15 million trust that will provide grants to small, women- and minority-owned businesses.