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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Vaccine Doses: 14,635,084
Fully Vaccinated People: 6,976,367
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]
Uninsured? Well, finding an affordable health care plan in New Jersey will get much easier thanks to the Easy Enrollment program signed into law by Governor Murphy last month. How it works is simple: If you’re uninsured, you check a box on your tax form or unemployment benefits application and the state will send you information on how to enroll in a low- or no-cost plan you qualify for. The success of a similar program in Maryland is a good sign that this will help more residents gain health coverage — right now there are nearly 700,000 New Jersey residents who are uninsured. [NJPP / Brittany Holom-Trundy]
Some good jobs news: New Jersey has regained 98 percent of the jobs lost in the early months of the pandemic, and private sector jobs have finally surpassed pre-pandemic levels! The state gained roughly 96,000 jobs through the first six months of the year, and the unemployment rate reamins steady at 3.9 percent. Jobs in state and local government have yet to recover, however, and the state only gained 200 public sector jobs in June, according to data released by the state Department of Labor. [ROI-NJ / Linda Lindner]
Overdose deaths spiked during the start of the pandemic, with the biggest increase within Black and Hispanic/Latinx communities, according to newly released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Between 2019 and 2020, the rise in overdose deaths among Black people was twice that of their white peers, at 44 percent and 22 percent respectively. This underscores the urgent need to expand harm reduction services across the state, and to start treating drug use as a public health issue. [NJ Spotlight News / Lilo Stainton and Genesis Obando]
At the NAACP national convention in Atlantic City earlier this week, Vice President Kamala Harris called New Jersey a national model in protecting the right to abortion care. Still, more work remains to expand access to those with low incomes and without insurance — a point that advocates from Planned Parenthood and the ACLU made in a roundtable discussion with Vice President Harris after her speech. During the roundtable discussion, advocates called on lawmakers to support a bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Teresa Ruiz and Assemblywoman Mila Jasey that would provide additional funding to make sure abortion is accessible to all, regardless of income, quality of health insurance, or ZIP code. [NJ Spotlight News / Taylor Jung]
With a heatwave underway, New Jersey American Water has asked customers in seven counties — Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset, and Union — to conserve water. Click the link for guidelines on the odd/even outdoor watering schedule, and remember to stay hydrated! [NJ.com / Chris Sheldon]
NJPP has a new policy analyst! Earlier this week, we announced the hiring of Alex Ambrose to help expand our work in transportation and environmental policy. “Alex is a rising star in the environmental policy world and brings incredible experience to the NJPP team,” said NJPP President Nicole Rodriguez. Join us in welcoming Alex aboard! [NJ Globe / Joey Fox]
Pets of NJPP
Now that Alex is officially a member of NJPP, we’re thrilled to feature her three adorable cats as Pets of NJPP! Meet Olive (front), Cheese (left), and Triscuit (right), also known as Alex’s “char-cat-erie.” Aside from posing for photo shoots, the cat trio enjoys snuggling on the couch and licking each other’s faces. Meow, meow, meow!
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