Friday Facts and Figures is a weekly newsletter with data points, analysis, and commentary on the biggest policy debates in New Jersey and beyond.
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COVID-19 Cases: 656,904 | Deaths: 20,083
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
New Jersey hit a big milestone this week, with the state surpassing the 1 million mark for vaccines. This includes more than 813,000 first doses and more than 224,000 second doses. To date, eligibility includes front-line health workers; residents of nursing homes, group homes, and people who are incarcerated; people 65 and over; and adults with underlying health conditions. Health officials say the state cannot keep up with the demand, but the Biden administration’s purchase of 200 million additional vaccines should help fix that. [NJ.com / Jeff Goldman]
The new state health care exchange had a successful first year, with enrollment in the marketplace up 9.4 percent compared to last year. In total, 270,000 residents signed up for health insurance through the state-run online portal, with approximately 80 percent of enrollees qualifying for financial assistance. The state-run marketplace allows New Jersey to go above and beyond the federal marketplace with more plans, more financial aid, and a longer enrollment period. [NJ.com / Susan Livio]
Over the last week, an additional 1.1 million workers filed for unemployment benefits across the country. With the spread of COVID-19 still out of control, this statistic should serve as another reminder that there cannot be economic health without public health. “While the progress of vaccination efforts has stymied an increase in new layoffs in December, the rate at which unemployed workers are finding new jobs and exiting the jobless rolls has yet to keep pace,” said Andrew Stettner, senior fellow at The Century Foundation. [CNN / Anneken Tappe]
More Than 100
On Tuesday, more than 100 New Jersey teachers sent an open letter to state lawmakers and Governor Murphy in support of immediate economic relief for undocumented immigrants. Approximately 500,000 immigrants in New Jersey have been left behind from virtually all forms of state and federal assistance, including the $1,200 stimulus checks in the CARES Act and the $600 checks issued last month. “I’m begging New Jersey state officials to take care of my students,” said Jessica Brater, an assistant professor at Montclair State University. [Patch / Eric Kiefer]
Over the last twenty years, Camden’s teacher workforce has shifted from majority Black to majority white, according to a new NJPP report by Mark Weber. This is due to the expansion of charter and renaissance schools in the city, which hire fewer Black teachers than the Camden City School District. In 1999, more than half of Camden’s teachers were Black; in 2019, only 30 percent were. The report points out that this is the result of state, not local, policies, as Camden’s school district has operated under a state fiscal monitor since 2006 and under full state control since 2013. [NJ.com / Bill Duhart]
Show Some Love for NJPP!
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and … without wanting to sound like your needy ex … NJPP wants you to show us some love! While we are open to a one-time donation, NJPP is looking for the deeper, long-term relationship that you can only get from a monthly commitment. Finding love might be hard, but showing your love for a fair, equitable New Jersey isn’t — sign up as a monthly donor today! [NJPP / Donate]
Pets of NJPP
Meet Fig, aka Wiggles, the co-working pup of Justin Goldsman. Fig loves the snow, oddly enjoys snacking on pickles and peppers, and is a social butterfly — there isn’t a dog out there that Fig doesn’t love. Woof!
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