Although New Jersey saw a noticeable decline in the number of new unemployment claims filed for the week ending Saturday, the number of workers who have sought jobless benefits since mid-March surpassed 718,000.
For the week ending April 11, 141,420 new unemployment applications were received, or about 73,000 fewer than the week before. A record 429,388 residents are now receiving unemployment benefits, a number that is certain to rise considerably as more claims are processed. It typically takes two to three weeks to receive an eligibility determination, once all the required information has been submitted.
The state paid $424.6 million in unemployment benefits for the six-week period from March 2 through April 10.
In related news, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates reveal that total nonfarm wage and salary employment in New Jersey decreased by 31,800 in March to a seasonally adjusted level of 4,210,100. Both the private (-22,300) and public (-9,500) sectors of the state’s economy recorded losses.
Despite the employment decrease, the state’s unemployment rate held steady for March at 3.8 percent. These estimates were based on surveys taken for the week including March 12th, predating many coronavirus-related business and school closures that took place in the second half of the month, so the state expects downward adjustments to employment in future reports. See technical notes at the end of this release for further information about the impact of the coronavirus on this month’s estimates.
Looking at the longer term, over the year, March 2019 – March 2020, employment in New Jersey was higher by 19,900, with the gains concentrated in the private sector (+25,400).
In March, employment losses were recorded in seven out of nine major private industry sectors. Industry sectors that lost jobs include leisure and hospitality (-14,800), professional and business services (-3,600), education and health services (-2,500), financial activities (-1,000), trade, transportation, and utilities (-700), information (-600), and construction (-100). Industry sectors that added jobs for the month include manufacturing (+900) and other services (+100). Over the month, public sector employment was lower by 9,500.
Anyone looking for work is encouraged to visit New Jersey’s jobs portal — jobs.covid19.nj.gov — which matches jobseekers with tens of thousands of immediate openings in industries on the frontlines of the pandemic, such as food distribution, warehousing and health care.
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