Record number of unemployment applications crashed N.J.'s website, Murphy says

Posted Mar 17, 2020

New Jersey’s online unemployment application system crashed Monday due to a huge spike in applications as non-essential businesses were forced to close in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday.

The system has since been restored.

“We saw a record number of unemployment applications yesterday,” Murphy said at an afternoon news conference in in which officials announced the number of statewide cases has climbed to 267. "The state system crashed.”

State Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Rob Asaro-Angelo said 15,000 people applied Monday. Unemployment applications in the state have increased “12 fold” this week, Asaro-Angelo said.

Murphy said people who have lost their jobs or who have had their hours cut because casinos, racetracks, shopping malls, restaurants and bars have been forced to close or to shorten their business days are eligible to receive either full or partial unemployment insurance.

Colleges and universities, as well as all kindergarten through 12th grade schools, are closed for at least two weeks.

The governor added that his cabinet is working with the state Legislature to set up a state business-assistance program within the coming week.

Murphy went on to say his administration is also asking the federal government for help to process unemployment applications.

The governor, meanwhile, implored businesses to continue paying workers to make sure they are still eligible for potential federal relief measures that have been proposed.

“Not paying employees now might prevent them from taking advantage of these," Murphy said. “We know people are anxious, but we’re working non-stop to protect people’s jobs and the economy so we can emerge stronger when this emergency is over."

“This is historic,” the governor said Tuesday during an interview with PBS’s Christiane Amanpour.

On the federal level, President Donald Trump is asking Congress to approve a number of emergency measures to help households and the economy amid the pandemic.

Trump is seeking to send checks to the public within two weeks as part of a stimulus plan that officials said could approach a cost of $1 trillion. Congressional leaders promised to act swiftly.

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