Nearly 35,000 Hudson County residents, more than 5 percent of the overall 670,000-person population, have applied for unemployment insurance in less than a month, mirroring national statistics that show an alarming job loss rate.
By Corey McDonald/Hudson County View
According to data provided by the New Jersey Department of Labor, 12,176 Hudson County residents had their unemployment insurance claims processed last week.
That represents 6.6% of the total number of claims processed statewide, and the 6th highest number out of New Jersey’s 21 counties for last week.
There is no breakdown of the statistics for each municipality.
Meanwhile, 34,885 Hudson County residents had their unemployment insurance claims processed between March 15th – two days after a national emergency was declared – to April 11th.
Based off of population data from the U.S. Census Bureau, that represents roughly 5.1% of the county’s total population.
Nearly 14,000 Hudson County residents filed for unemployment during the tail end of March.
In a month’s time, more than 718,000 people have applied for unemployment benefits in New Jersey, following the move by some municipalities, and then eventually the state, to close most non-essential businesses.
The county and state statistics are consistent with a national trend amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
More than 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment aid since a national emergency was declared: “a level of job loss not seen since the Great Depression,” according to The Washington Post.
In New Jersey, the number of claims that have been processed seems to have plateaued between the first and second week of April.
According to a tweet by Gov. Phil Murphy (D), from the week ending on April 5 to the end of last week, the number of claims processed by the NJ Department of Labor had plateaued by a third.
“We still have a record number of claims,” Murphy said. “No one will lose one penny of the benefits they deserve.”
.@NJLaborDept announced this morning that the number of new unemployment claims over the past week has decreased by roughly one-third from the week before.
We still have a record number of claims. No one will lose one penny of the benefits they deserve.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) April 16, 2020
Still, these figures may not reflect the true number of people who have applied for unemployment insurance and have not had their claims processed – or those who have not been able to apply at all.
Residents have expressed frustration over the process of applying for unemployment – with some residents saying they have tried for days to apply to no avail, NJ Advance Media reported.
Part of the lag is due to the fact that the state’s unemployment system is facing an historic collapse of the labor market while running on a 40-year-old mainframe, the website wrote. But state officials have made efforts to ramp up the system.
The state’s Department of Labor commissioner has said that all claims will be backdated to the first day of unemployment.
Follow Corey McDonald on Twitter @cwmcdonald_