Fewer people applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week, evidence that recent job gains should continue.
The Labor Department says weekly applications for unemployment aid fell 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 302,000. The less volatile four-week average has slipped to 309,000, the lowest reading since June 2007, about five months before the Great Recession began.
Here are the states with the biggest increases and decreases in applications. The data is for the week that ended July 5, one week behind the national figures:
States with the biggest decreases:
California: Down 4,008, due to fewer layoffs in the service industry
New Jersey: Down 3,953, due to fewer layoffs in education, transportation, hotels and food service, public administration, construction and retail
Texas: Down 2,923, no reason given
Massachusetts: Down 1,981, due to fewer layoffs in transportation
Connecticut: Down 1,135, no reason given
States with the biggest increases:
Michigan: Up 9,821, due to layoffs in services
New York: Up 5,272, due to layoffs in transportation, education, health care and social assistance
Ohio: Up 3,352, due to layoffs in transportation
Arkansas: Up 1,981, no reason given
Kentucky: Up 1,844, no reason given
Missouri: Up 1,844, due to layoffs in manufacturing, transportation and administrative services
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