Fewer people sought unemployment benefits last week, marking the third decline in the past four weeks. 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 March 5, one week behind the national data.
States with the biggest drops in claims:
Massachusetts: Down 2,482. The state provided no reason for the change.
Oregon: Down 1,680, with no reason provided.
Rhode Island: Down 1,120, reflecting fewer layoffs in the service and manufacturing industries.
States with the biggest increases in claims:
New York: Up 17,926, reflecting layoffs in the transportatin and service industries.
California: Up 13,388, reflecting the fact that state claims offices were open for a full five days to process claims after a week in which the President's Day holiday had reduced the time to process claims.
Illinois: Up 4,514, reflecting a return to a regular workweek for claims offices.
Pennsylvania: Up 3,907, reflecting higher layoffs in the construction, trade, service and transportation industries.
Texas: Up 2,828, reflecting higher more layoffs in trade, service and manufacturing industries.
Ohio: Up 2,246, reflecting more layoffs in the auto industry.