NATIONWIDE – Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits dropped last week by 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 350,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell to a nearly five-year low of 356,750.
Still, many state unemployment offices were closed Monday and Tuesday because of the winter holiday and could not provide exact data. That forced the government to rely on estimates for 19 states. The figures will likely be significantly revised next week.
Here are the states with the biggest increases and decreases. The state level data are for the week ended Dec. 15, one week behind the national data:
States with the biggest decreases:
- California: Down 6,867, due to fewer layoffs in the agriculture, forestry and fisheries industry
- New Jersey: Down 5,101, due to fewer layoffs in transportation and warehousing, manufacturing, hotels and restaurants, and health care
- Pennsylvania: Down 3,412, due to fewer layoffs in the construction, transportation, and technology industries
- New York: Down 2,938, due to fewer layoffs in restaurants, health care and retail
- Michigan: Down 2,889, due to fewer layoffs across all industries
- Illinois: Down 2,092, no reason given
- States with the biggest increases:
- Florida: Up 5,080, due to layoffs in services, agriculture, construction, retail and manufacturing
- Kentucky: Up 1,009, no reason given
By Associated Press