Friday Facts and Figures

Friday Facts and Figures: May 1, 2020

Skyrocketing unemployment is unlike anything we've ever seen before.

Published on May 1, 2020

Friday Facts and Figures is a brief digital newsletter focusing on data points from NJPP reports, research, and policy debates in New Jersey and beyond.
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COVID-19 Cases: 121,190 | Deaths: 7,538
[New Jersey Department of Health / COVID-19 Dashboard]

$650 Billion

State budget shortfalls are now projected to be significantly higher than previously thought, totaling $650 billion through fiscal year 2022. This new estimate, compiled by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, increases the urgency for more federal relief to state and local governments. Fortunately, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has signaled that aid for states will be the core of the next COVID-19 stimulus package, saying she will push for $1 trillion in direct relief. Federal aid could make or break New Jersey’s COVID-19 recovery, so this is the federal policy issue to follow in the coming weeks. [Roll Call / David Lerman]


Governor Murphy flexed his diplomacy muscles on Thursday as he made a strong case for more federal aid in an Oval Office meeting with President Trump. The governor suggested New Jersey will need $20 to $30 billion to cover revenue shortfalls associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s a few lines from Governor Murphy’s remarks: “We need a significant amount. This is a big hit. We don’t see this as a bailout, we see this as a partnership — doing the right thing in what is the worst health care crisis in the history of our nation.” [Politico / Katherine Landergan]


More than 930,000 New Jersey workers have filed for unemployment insurance (UI) since the beginning of March. This figure is unprecedented, and it also severely undercounts the full extent of job loss in New Jersey, as not all workers are eligible for unemployment assistance and are thus not filing claims. According to a new report by NJPP Research Director Nicole Rodriguez, unemployment claims caused by COVID-19 will soon surpass the total number of UI claims made in the entirety of the Great Recession. Click the link to see how this level of job loss is unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before. [NJPP / Nicole Rodriguez]


Undocumented workers, who are in many ways the backbone of New Jersey’s economy, are likely to be the hardest hit by the economic fallout from COVID-19, according to a new analysis by NJPP and researchers at Rutgers University’s Center for Innovation in Worker Organization (CIWO). That’s because undocumented workers make up a disproportionate share of New Jersey’s service sector workforce, and these industries are at the highest risk of losing jobs as they rely on customer interactions. None of these workers qualify for unemployment insurance benefits and they have been carved out of federal relief in the CARES Act. The state must step up to ensure no one is left behind in New Jersey’s recovery. [ / Sophie Nieto-Munoz]

13.9 Million

Millions of newly unemployed workers across the country are going without unemployment benefits, according to a new survey by the Economic Policy Institute. The survey, conducted in mid-April, finds that for every 10 people who successfully filed for unemployment benefits during the previous four weeks, 3 to 4 additional people tried to apply but could not get through the system to make a claim, and 2 additional people did not try to apply because it was too difficult to do so. In total, this means an additional 13.9 million workers should be receiving unemployment benefits. [Economic Policy Institute / Ben Zipperer and Elise Gould]

Join Us Thursday!

On Thursday, May 7, join NJPP and members of For The Many for a Facebook Live discussion on ways to fund New Jersey’s COVID-19 response and recovery. Click the link for more info and to RSVP! [Facebook Live / For The Many NJ]

Pets of NJPP

Meet Chester, Becca Jensen Compton’s family’s dog. He’s a Jack Russell / Pug with boundless energy, a pronounced little-dog complex, and a devastating fear of thunderstorms. He loves fetch, rolling in things that smell, and cheese!

Have a fact or figure for us? Tweet it to @NJPolicy. 

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