How states fared on unemployment benefit claims

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Applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose last week, but they remain close to pre-recession averages.

The Labor Department said Thursday that applications for jobless aid increased 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 302,000. The less volatile four-week moving average dipped to 297,250, the lowest reading since April 2006.

Here are the states with the biggest decreases in applications. No state reported increases in jobless claims of more than 1,000. The unadjusted data is for the week that ended July 19, one week behind the national figures:

States with the biggest decreases:

New York: Down 18,663, due to fewer layoffs in education, transportation and warehousing, and health care and social assistance

Pennsylvania: Down 7,233, due to fewer layoffs in administration, food service, transportation and construction

California: Down 6,222, no reason given

Georgia: Down 4,661, due to fewer layoffs in manufacturing, administration, construction, hotels and food service, and wholesale trade

Indiana: Down 4,283, no reason given

Wisconsin: Down 3,719, no reason given

Tennessee: Down 3,203, no reason given

Texas: Down 2,964, no reason given

Alabama: Down 2,827, due to fewer layoffs in administration, waste management, hotels and food service, manufacturing and construction

Arizona: Down 2,273, no reason given

Virginia: Down 2,170, due to fewer layoffs in manufacturing

Massachusetts: Down 2,021, due to fewer layoffs in construction, transportation and warehousing, health care and social assistance, and hotels and food service

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