Weekly U.S. unemployment benefit applications dropped to a fresh four-year low last week, the latest evidence that layoffs have slowed and hiring is strengthening.
Here are the states with the biggest changes in unemployment aid requests, and some reasons for the change. The data is for the week ended March 24, one week behind the national numbers.
States with the biggest decreases:
Pennsylvania: Down 1,956, due to fewer layoffs in the entertainment, lodging, food service, construction, professional services and retail industries
North Carolina: Down 1,656, due to fewer layoffs in the food service, textiles and construction industries
New Jersey: Down 1,511, due to fewer layoffs in the hotel, restaurant, manufacturing, retail, construction and health care industries
Massachusetts: Down 1,083, no reason given
States with the biggest increases:
Texas: Up 4,185, no reason given
California: Up 2,199, no reason given
Kansas: Up 1,555, no reason given
Arkansas: Up 1,141, no reason given