NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- A record number of New Jersey residents applied for unemployment benefits last week, climbing 32% higher than the week before, the state Labor Department announced Thursday.
There were more than 206,000 claims for the week ending March 28, up from 155,000 the previous week, the department said in a statement.
The jump in claims is fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, which so far as resulted in 355 deaths in New Jersey and more than 22,000 positive cases, according to state officials.
The new claims over the past two weeks dwarf the state's previous record for jobless claims: In 2012 Superstorm Sandy led to a spike of 46,000 claims.
Nearly 156,000 residents are currently collecting unemployment benefits, about 51,000 more than the week before, according to the department.
The news came as the federal Labor Department reported that more than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week - doubling a record high set just one week earlier
MORE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 COVERAGE
See how our communities are making a difference
Free educational resources for parents and children
How you can help victims of coronavirus
Coronavirus news and live updates in New York
Coronavirus news and live updates in New Jersey
Coronavirus news and live updates in Connecticut
How coronavirus is leaving ghost towns in its path
Coronavirus prevention: how clean are your hands?
Social distancing: What is it and how does it stop the spread of coronavirus?
Coronavirus closures and cancelations
Coronavirus tips: What Americans need to know
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus