Business Report: Worker misclassification, broadband access, job numbers, American Dream mall

NJ gets tough on misclassification, which prevents workers from qualifying for unemployment and other benefits

New Jersey is cracking down further on employers who illegally classify their workers as contractors. It is a practice that costs the state millions of dollars in lost contributions for programs like unemployment and disability. Gov. Phil Murphy on Thursday signed four bills that would give the state additional tools to go after those skirting the law. Murphy pointed out that misclassification also prevents workers from qualifying for unemployment and other benefits.

Another bill signed by Murphy aims to improve access to high-speed broadband internet. The bill sets up a commission to study how to provide access in rural and low-income areas. This became an issue during the coronavirus pandemic, when students and employees were forced to work online.

New Jersey’s job market continues its uneven recovery. More than 10,000 residents filed new jobless claims in the latest week, according to the U.S. labor department’s review of advance claims filed by states. That is a decline from the prior week. The state has now paid out more than $31 billion in unemployment claims since March 2020, when the pandemic took hold.

The American Dream mall will open a new section to shoppers in a few months. The mall will open its luxury retail wing on Sept. 17, with about 20 high-end stores. Eventually there will be about 80 stores in all.

New Jersey is among three dozen states joining an antitrust lawsuit against Google. The states are accusing Google of using its market dominance to unfairly restrict access to its Google Play store. The suit contends that led to consumers paying higher costs for its mobile apps. Google responded that the suit has no merit.

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