Murphy admits prolonged business shutdown resulted in New Jersey having highest unemployment rate in U.S.

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TRENTON, NJ – Last week, we reported that New Jersey had the third highest unemployment rate in the country.

As most of America digs out quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, in New Jersey, state offices remain closed and government-imposed COVID-19 mandates are still among the most strict in the nation. Businesses in New Jersey continue to compete with unemployment benefits from the state as thousands of businesses can’t find enough workers.

That has led to many businesses closing early each day, limiting customers and some, even going out of business.

The pre-pandemic policy of requiring unemployment recipients to maintain an active job search regimen is still not being enforced by the New Jersey Department of Labor, causing both a worker shortage and an unemployment crisis at the same time.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, New Jersey has an unemployment rate of 7%, the third-highest in America, behind only California and Nevada.

On Monday, Murphy admitted that his draconian business lockdown contributed to the state leading in unemployment, that was expected.

“I think this is borne out by the data. We had achieved the lowest record unemployment level in the history of the state before the crisis. I have every confidence we’re going to get back to that neighborhood,” Murphy said. “If you look at our current unemployment rate, it is very similar to steps – to states, rather, that took steps that aggressively went after public health in similar levels of strength, of steps. States that, as we did, closed down dramatically under that.”

Murphy said if hope and prayers for a recovery don’t work, he has plenty of money to spend in the ARP line item.

“If nothing else, when you combine the American Rescue Plan money with the infrastructure money with what hopefully will be another big investment bill coming out of Congress, I have every optimism that our economy is going to get fully back on its feet,” he added.