Despite record-high nationwide unemployment, New Jersey saw a steep drop in the number of people seeking jobless claims last week as the COVID-19 pandemic slams the breaks on nationwide commerce, according to federal labor data released Thursday.
For the week ending April 25, a total of 71,017 New Jerseyans filed for unemployment, compared to 140,139 state residents who applied for jobless benefits the week ending April 18, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
That brings the total number of jobless claims in New Jersey to almost 930,000 since the pandemic hit New Jersey nearly six weeks ago, and Gov. Phil Murphy enacted a virtual statewide lock down and sweeping restrictions to contain the spread of the virus.
Nationwide, more than 30 million Americans filed for unemployment since the onset of the pandemic. But 3.8 million Americans sought jobless claims last week, still 603,000 lower than the 4.4 million applications filed the week ending April 18.
Labor officials ensured that since Murphy’s March 16 stay-at-home order, the state paid out $1.4 billion in benefits to unemployed and furloughed workers. That includes $727 million from the state’s own pool of money, and $690 million from the additional $600 per week checks that started going out earlier in April.
Between April 20 and 24, the state paid out $211.1 million of jobless benefits, compared to $179.7 million the week before that, and $140.7 million between April 6 and 10.
Freelancers, independent contractors, and self-employed residents will see their long-awaited unemployment payments on May 5.