NJ Mostly Holds the Line on Public Health Metrics as 33,000 More Residents Apply for Unemployment

New Jersey’s coronavirus rate of transmission has increased in 16 counties, Gov. Phil Murphy said at today’s state press conference, but the statewide rate of transmission remains below 1 (at .88). Additionally, COVID-19 hospitalizations decreased slightly yesterday to 1,182 statewide, following what had been three days of slight increases.

Murphy said overall, “Tracking these numbers over the past couple of weeks to reveal the overall trends shows that with regard to the key metrics we follow, we remain in a place where we feel comfortable continuing with Stage 2 of our restart.”

He added, “And we continue to see our standing improve among all other states, especially as it relates to new cases. But, we need to get our ranking in both hospitalizations and fatalities, down. The only way we can do that is by remaining vigilant and taking personal responsibility for the overall health of our communities.”

Employment Scenario

And while New Jersey’s economy may be reopening, there were 33,004 new unemployment filings for the week ending June 20, bringing the cumulative total of workers who have applied for unemployment benefits here since March 15 to nearly 1.3 million, the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development announced today. This marks a second week of increases; 26,392 residents applied for new benefits for the week ending June 13.

That said, Rutgers University’s economic experts James W. Hughes, Connie O. Hughes and Joseph J. Seneca wrote a 30-page report, which states, in part, “In New Jersey, the May [jobs] bounce back – albeit from a far deeper employment hole – was stronger than that of the nation. In both cases, slightly more than one-out-of-ten total jobs were recovered. During the Economic Reopening (to date), the state recaptured 10.4 percent (+86,800 jobs) of the 831,300 jobs lost during the Great Contraction (Editor’s Note: the authors describe the Great Contraction as “the precipitous economic collapse deliberately engineered to contain the COVID-19 pandemic”).

The report – titled “Coronavirus Economic Pivot: Precipitous Fall to Recovery Crawl?” – added, “New Jersey’s employment ‘deficit‘ was reduced to approximately three-quarters of a million (744,500) jobs.”

However, the authors additionally note, “If the time frame of the full employment recovery from the Great Recession is repeated for the aftermath of the Great Contraction, New Jersey would not fully recover its job losses until January 2029.”

The United States’ coronavirus-related future seems unclear overall, however, since large, populous states are now reporting record COVID-19 rates today, and such healthcare woes might again have myriad adverse impacts.

COVID-19 Deaths

Separately, although New Jersey has a cumulative total of 13,018 confirmed COVID-19 fatalities, Murphy announced today that the state has another 1,854 COVID-19 “probable deaths.” These individuals were not previously included in the state’s death tally because, for example, COVID-19 tests may not have ever been administered to them.

With these “probable deaths” added following careful examination by the New Jersey Department of Health, New Jersey’s death tolls stands at 14,872. Murphy said that he does not anticipate the number of “probable deaths” to rise significantly in the future.


Murphy also said today that the New Jersey Department of Education will announce guidelines for schools’ 2020-2021 reopenings tomorrow, adding, “This guidance has been in the works for weeks, and will take into account the many differences which exist among our schools and education communities – whether they be geographic, demographic, or economic – and acknowledge that there is no one-size-fits-all guidance that can be applied to every school and every district.”

He added, “While this guidance will have clear standards to be followed in every district to ensure the safety of everyone in our school facilities, individual district superintendents and boards of education – working with their school communities – will be given flexibility to ensure an implementation strategy that best works for their specific needs and which recognizes and respects the unique characteristics of each of our districts.”

New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet is scheduled to appear at tomorrow’s COVID-19 press conference to discuss the matter further, Murphy said.

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