Another 140,000 new claims for unemployment benefits were filed last week by New Jerseyans, bringing the total since large portions of the economy were ordered shut due to the coronavirus pandemic to more than 858,000.

The number of new jobless claims in the last five weeks in New Jersey nearly equals the number that had been filed in the 90 weeks prior to that combined.

The U.S. Department of Labor reported that 139,277 new claims were filed in New Jersey, compared with 141,420 a week earlier. The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development says the final number, not based on advanced reporting, was 140,139.

Nearly 558,000 state residents received unemployment benefits for the week of April 11, amounting to almost 14% of covered employment. They were paid almost $180 million in benefits for the week, almost 28% more than the week before.

In addition to $604 million in state unemployment benefits paid out since the start of March, the state says around $394 million in supplemental payments from the federal government has reached unemployed New Jersey workers in the past two weeks.

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Nationwide, another 4.427 million people filed initial claims for unemployment benefits last week. That’s 810,000 fewer than a week earlier but brings the virus-related total to around 26.4 million.

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Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at

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