The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid barely changed last week, while the average over the past month fell to a fresh five-year low.
Applications last week ticked up just 2,000 to a seasonally adjusted 336,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dropped to 339,750, the lowest since February 2008. The downward trend in applications shows fewer layoffs are helping to strengthen the job market.
Here are the states with the biggest changes in unemployment aid applications. The state level data are for the week ended March 9, one week behind the national data.
States with the biggest increases:
Georgia: Up 1,678, due to layoffs in manufacturing, construction, and administrative support
States with the biggest decreases:
New York: Down 7,248, due to fewer layoffs in education, food service and transportation
California: Down 6,189, due to fewer layoffs in services and manufacturing
Illinois: Down 1,172, no reason given
Kansas: Down 1,098, no reason given
Alabama: Down 1,083, due to fewer layoffs in the plastics and rubber products industries