On Friday, researchers at the University of Chicago released the results of a 50-state look at state unemployment programs. The study ran from September 2020 through March 2021.
New Jersey finished 50th.
“Unfortunately, I could have told them that without conducting the survey,” said state Senator Kristin Corrado (R-40) reacting to the report. “New Jersey is the bottom of the barrel. It’s a disgrace, an embarrassment. Clearly the labor department’s priorities are coming up short, and New Jersey residents are suffering because of it.”
For example, only 20% of a sample of 2,000 calls for assistance ever reached a live person. New Jersey’s performance was the worst in the country, with some states boasted 80% accessibility rates.
Despite a massive ongoing unemployment backup, Governor Murphy has refused to invest a significant sum of money to fix the outdated system. His latest budget includes a fraction of the estimate monies needed to modernize New Jersey unemployment.
“Those states have endured the same COVID-related hardships and challenges, but the results are dramatically different,” Corrado continued. “I have said it before: If the Department of Labor was a business, they would be out of business. This study proves what millions of people across New Jersey already knew. The department’s performance has been, and continues to be, abysmal.”
Unemployment wasn’t the only type of benefit for which N.J. came up short. The Garden State is also the worst place to seek out help if you’re looking for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, Medicaid, or even income tax return information.