BUSINESS REPORT

No agreement on continuing $600 weekly unemployment benefits

BY Rhonda Schaffler, Correspondent |

There’s still no agreement on extending federal unemployment benefits to the millions of jobless workers who relied on the extra $600 a week payment. The program officially ends Friday, as does a federal moratorium on evictions. Congress remains at odds over a plan to extend either of those programs as part of another economic stimulus bill.

There’s been a lot of bad economic news this week, but New Jersey’s housing market is bucking the downtrend. Pending home sales rose more than 30% in June, and the median price for homes also rose. New Jersey Realtors says the market is getting support from low mortgage rates and the fact that homebuyers continue to leave the cities for the suburbs.

Google has launched a new mentorship program to support Black entrepreneurs, and has selected just 12 start-up companies across the U.S. to participate, including Newark-based MindRight Health. Company founder and CEO Ashley Edwards has come up with a unique way to deliver mental health services to young people by having mental health coaches communicate by text.

There is now a nationwide competition underway to try to develop a faster, cheaper and more efficient test for COVID-19. Known as the XPrize competition, it offers a $5 million incentive to researchers to come up with a COVID test with rapid results. Among the companies backing the competition is New Jersey’s Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield, an underwriter of NJTV News