More people sought unemployment benefits last week, but the rise came after applications hit their lowest level in nearly three years. Economists expect that applications will continue to decline as the economy improves.
Below are the states with the biggest changes in weekly unemployment benefits and some of the reasons for the shifts. The state-by-state data is for the week that ended Feb. 26, one week behind the national data.
States with the biggest drops in claims:
California: Down 12,730, because government offices closed for Feb. 21 holiday; fewer applications processed
Illinois: Down 2,430, due to closing of government offices for holiday
Missouri: Down 2,255, due to fewer layoffs in construction and services
Texas: Down 1,707, due to fewer layoffs in manufacturing and services, and closing of government offices
Tennessee: Down 1,515, due to fewer layoffs in services and transportation.
States with the biggest increases in claims:
Massachusetts: Up 3,804, due to layoffs in transportation and services