How US states fared on unemployment benefit claims

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The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply last week, an indication that hiring could improve at a faster pace. Weekly unemployment aid applications fell 27,000 last week to 341,000. That's a level consistent with steady job growth.

States with the biggest increases:

California: Up 11,784, due to layoffs in services

Texas: Up 2,071, no reason given

New York: Up 2,066, due to layoffs in the construction, food service, and retail industries

Florida: Up 2,050, due to layoffs in construction, manufacturing, trade, retail and service industries

Oregon: Up 1,603, no reason given

States with the biggest decreases:

North Carolina: Down 2,681, due to fewer layoffs in the construction, transportation, and petroleum refining industries

Tennessee: Down 2,003, no reason given

Alabama: Down 1,248, due to fewer layoffs in construction, agriculture

Michigan: Down 1,011, due to fewer layoffs in all industries

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