Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, evidence that layoffs remain low and hiring could pick up.
The Labor Department said that weekly applications for unemployment aid dropped 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 326,000, the lowest in six weeks.
Here are the states with the biggest changes in applications. The state-level data are for the week ended Jan. 4, one week behind the national figures:
States with the biggest increases:
New York: Up 28,314, due to more layoffs in transportation and warehousing, construction and education
Georgia: Up 18,734, due to layoffs in manufacturing, administrative services, construction, and transportation and warehousing
South Carolina: Up 9,632, due to layoffs in manufacturing and administrative support services
Alabama: Up 6,782, due to layoffs in manufacturing and administrative support services
Texas: Up 6,638, no reason given
States with the biggest decreases:
Michigan: Down 17,635, due to fewer layoffs in manufacturing
New Jersey: Down 6,882, due to fewer layoffs in educational services and public administration
Massachusetts: Down 5,485, due to bad weather delaying applications for benefits
Ohio: Down 5,482, due to fewer layoffs in transportation, manufacturing, and retail
Iowa: Down 4,212, due to fewer layoffs in manufacturing