I don’t have a timetable but sooner is better than later

I don’t have a timetable but sooner is better than later,’ Murphy says about offering unemployment help in person. Gov. Phil Murphy doesn’t have a timetable for when unemployed workers can get help with their claims in person, but “sooner is better than later,” he said at his Monday briefing.

Unemployed workers have only been able to get help with their claims by telephone or online since the start of the pandemic in March 2020. Many have said, months after submitting claims, they have been unable to get through to a person who can help resolve their problems with payments.

“I think there’s a comfort in `I’m looking at you, you’re looking at me,’ and you’ve got an unemployment issue and it’s weighing heavily on you and you’re frustrated,” Murphy said.

While many state workers were mandated to work from the office as of Oct. 18, others will go back in-person on a rolling basis, Murphy said last month. Murphy said the Labor Department’s One Stop Career Centers would be “phased in over the next number of weeks.”

As of Monday, the centers schedule appointments for some in-person services, but they are not available for unemployment claims.

Murphy said if Department of Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo was at the briefing, he would probably say that in-person meetings wouldn’t help to speed up any claims.

“It may well give comfort to the person that they’ve got a name and a face,” Murphy said. “But I don’t know that there’s any evidence that it would have speeded up the claim.”

The Department of Labor didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

Murphy said New Jersey’s record with unemployment claims is as good as any state, “but that doesn’t mean if you’re out there and you’re frustrated right now, and your claim has not been resolved… I have sympathy with that, therefore, I’m frustrated as well.”

The governor likened individuals’ outstanding claims to “hand-tailored suits” and specific to the individual.

He stopped short of offering a time frame as to when people could get help in person.

“As it relates to when, I don’t have a timetable, but sooner is better than later,” he said. “Obviously we want to do it right, but sooner is better than later.”

Coldest night of the season on the way, with freeze alerts issued in 6 counties

After near-record warmth on October, New Jersey will be getting a blast of chilly air Tuesday night and Wednesday night, according to weather forecasters.AccuWeather

It’s time to get those extra blankets ready. Cold air from the northwest will be drifting across New Jersey Tuesday night, pushing temperatures down to the low 30s in some parts of the state and mid-30s in other areas by early Wednesday morning.

“It will likely be our coldest night of the season,” the National Weather Service’s Mount Holly forecast office said in its forecast discussion on Monday. “A light west to northwest (breeze) may help to prevent the development of widespread frost. Nevertheless, patchy frost is quite possible in parts of eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.”

In advance of the cold air, the weather service has issued its first freeze watch of the season for Hunterdon, Morris, Somerset, Sussex and Warren counties, as well as in western Passaic County, effective from midnight Wednesday until 9 a.m. Wednesday. The watch says temperatures in those areas could dip as low as 30 degrees, which is cold enough to kill unprotected crops and other sensitive vegetation.

Areas shaded in light blue are under a freeze watch from midnight Wednesday, until 9 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3.National Weather Service

While frost in early November is common, it is rare for New Jersey to go through the entire month of October with most towns not getting any frost.

Data from the Rutgers NJ Weather Network shows none of the 66 automated weather reporting stations across the state — even those up in High Point in Sussex County — dropped down to the freezing mark during the entire month of October. The last time that happened was more than 20 years ago, said New Jersey State Climatologist David Robinson, whose office is based at Rutgers.

The Sussex region, as well as other areas of northwestern New Jersey, usually gets its first freeze in early October.

This chart from the National Weather Service shows the earliest date, average date and latest date of the first freeze of the year in different areas of New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.National Weather Service
Near-record warmth in October

Preliminary stats show last month was the second warmest October on record in New Jersey, based on the average daily temperatures statewide, according to Robinson.

Stats from the National Weather Service show the Newark area had its warmest October on record this year, with an average temperature of 64.4 degrees — which is nearly 7 degrees warmer than its average temperature in October. Newark’s previous record was 63.8 degrees, set in 2017.

The Atlantic City area averaged 62.5 degrees last month, more than 5 degrees higher than normal, making it the second warmest October on record in that area of the state. The record was 64.1 degrees, set in 2007.

The Trenton area averaged 61.1 degrees last month, which was tied for the sixth warmest October on record in that area, according to the weather service stats. The Trenton record is 63.5 degrees, set in 1879.

The monthly average temperature is the average among all the daily highs and daily lows.

Last month turned out to be one of the warmest Octobers on record in many areas of New Jersey, eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. Newark Liberty Airport, which is not listed in this chart, had its warmest October on record in 2021.National Weather Service

As for the wave of colder air, the weather service is predicting widespread lows in the low 30s Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, followed by afternoon highs around 52 degrees. Then another chilly night is expected Wednesday, with the mercury dropping back down into the low 30s by Thursday morning.

The Atlantic City area normally gets its first freeze (32 degrees or colder) by Oct. 23, and the Trenton area usually gets its first freeze by Oct. 31, according to weather service data. The latest first freeze on record was Nov. 17 in Atlantic City (1970) and Dec. 1 in Trenton (1902).

Gov. Phil Murphy leads Republican challenger Jack Ciattarelli by 8 percentage points as the New Jersey governor’s race draws to a close, according to what’s likely to be the final poll before Election Day on Tuesday.

The Rutgers-Eagleton survey released Monday found Murphy, a Democrat running for a second term, up 50% to 42% over Ciattarelli among registered Garden State voters.

The pollster models of likely voter models “do little to change the race.”

“Any good poll consumer needs to remember — especially in an election cycle — that any single poll is a snapshot in time, that poll numbers are estimates with some level of statistical uncertainty, and that they are meant more to explain than predict,” said Ashley Koning, director of the Eagleton Center for Public Interest Polling at Rutgers University and an assistant research professor at the school.

“But if we look at the several statewide polls conducted in the last week, the big picture points to a sizable margin for Murphy that — despite narrowing throughout the campaign — will be difficult for Ciattarelli to overcome in the final days, especially in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans two-to-one in registration.”

Murphy’s margin is not as big as the sizable double digits he held early on. He led Ciattarelli, a former member of the state Assembly, by 26 points in the last Rutgers-Eagleton poll on the race, from June.

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