Fewer people sought unemployment benefits last week, a sign the job market may have improved a bit. Weekly applications fell 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 409,000.
Here are the states with the biggest increases and decreases in applications. The data is for the week ended Aug. 20, one week behind the nationwide data.
States with the biggest drops:
Massachusetts: Down 1,627, no reason given
South Carolina: Down 1,058, due to fewer layoffs in manufacturing
State with the biggest rise:
Pennsylvania: Up 1,904, due to layoffs in construction and services