Phil Murphy says he will not extend $300 weekly unemployment benefits

TRENTON, NJ – New Jerseyans who remain on unemployment will find their monthly unemployment benefit drop by $1,200 after September 4th and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says it’s too expensive for him or the state to pick up the slack.

“First and as a reminder, federal extended unemployment benefits including the $300 weekly benefit expire on September 4,” Murphy said. “The proper way to extend federal UI benefits is through federal action, not a patchwork of state ones.”

Murphy said the costs are too high for the state to take on the $1 billion per month that would be needed to continue in the absence of federal funding.

“It should be noted here that no state is extending this benefit beyond September 4th. The reality is that continuing the $300 per week benefit through state resources would be cost-prohibitive,” he said. “It would cost at current at least $314 million per week and perhaps hundreds of millions of dollars more. In other words, we’re talking about well more than $1 billion per month to maintain this benefit at its current level.”

Overall, the Department of Labor has spent $33.7 billion directly into the accounts of nearly 1.6 million New Jerseyans since the start of the pandemic, of which $25 billion had been federal dollars.

“We have some of the most generous unemployment benefits in the country and God knows we needed them,” Murphy added. “We consistently hold the top ranking for percentage of unemployed workers receiving benefits. Unlike most other states, those entering our workforce are guaranteed a wage of at least $12 an hour. That, by the way, increases to $13 an hour in just four months. They’re guaranteed sick leave, expanded paid family leave, equal pay protections, all of which are among the strongest in the nation.”

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