A state Senate committee plans to gather information about a backlog of unemployment insurance appeals claims in New Jersey.

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The Labor Committee is tackling the topic Monday in a hearing that deals with a practical problem, but can be used to score some political points.

Officials say the state is getting 10,000 unemployment claims a week and 3,000 appeals per month. It takes 20 to 24 weeks to hear appeals from people who believe they are wrongly denied unemployment insurance -- an average wait that's more than twice as long as it was in 2011.

For Democrats, the hearing could serve as a public reminder that the unemployment rate has been rising in the state despite Gov. Chris Christie's past assertions that his policies are turning around the state's economy.

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