TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey did not release weekly unemployment claims last week for the first time since the unemployment skyrocketed at the beginning of the pandemic. Every Thursday the state Labor Department puts out a press release on weekly unemployment claims and how much recipients have been paid in benefits.
Nearly 18,000 New Jerseyans filed unemployment claims in the week ending May 15, according to the federal Department of Labor, an increase of 4,384. That number makes New Jersey an outlier to the rest of the nation, which has pretty much held flat or is experiencing decreasing claims. It is also the probable reason the administration has not put out a press release on the weekly claims.
“Gov. Murphy and his team continue to deny that his economic sanctions have negatively impacted the economy. Just look at the unemployment numbers,” said Hal Wirths (R-Sussex), the Assembly Republican Budget Officer. “April’s employment numbers were also incredibly disappointing even though the state was opening up. Obviously, businesses are hurting and workers are facing the consequences because Murphy is doing too little, too late.”
Only 3,900 jobs were created in April statewide, after increasing by 20,800 in March, 12,100 in February and only 900 in January. The unemployment rate barely moved, but just enough to lower to 7.5 percent from 7.6 percent as 2,500 people entered the labor force.
“It isn’t surprising that Murphy used a lower unemployment rate to make everything seem better than it is while skipping a standard weekly press release on unemployment data just because the numbers were bad. Look at the underlying data and why the rate decreased, and it looks even worse. Workers have a rough road ahead under Murphy, and government spending won’t help,” Wirths concluded.