New unemployment applications dropped by 41% last week, marking the smallest number of new weekly claims since mid-March, the Department of Labor announced Thursday.
Last week, 16,537 New Jersey residents filed initial unemployment claims. That number was 28,063 the week before last.
“It’s an encouraging sign that initial claims took such a dramatic drop last week, but we’re not out of the woods,” Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo said. “We see the economic devastation of this pandemic every day – in the eyes of workers facing layoffs for the first time, in the faces of families uncertain about their future. We are working day and night to make applying for and receiving unemployment benefits as seamless as possible.”
Last week was also the last week the state’s unemployed will receive supplementary $600 federal pandemic unemployment compensation payments. Those payments sunset this week, and federal lawmakers have been unable to reach a compromise to renew them.
Those payments totaled $515 million last week, bringing the 17-week total to more than $8 billion.
Roughly 1.3 million of the 1.5 million that have filed for unemployment in the state qualified for benefits, and 96% of those that did have received payments. Another 13,000 residents whose standard federal and state unemployment benefits have expired are receiving state extended benefits.