The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits jumped 20,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 362,000. Still, applications remain at a level that suggests slow but steady improvement in the job market.
Here are the states with the biggest changes in weekly unemployment benefit applications. The state level data is for the week ended Feb. 9, one week behind the national data:
States with the biggest increases:
Kansas: Up 2,344, due to layoffs in transportation manufacturing. It was the only state listed with an increase above 1,000.
States with the biggest decreases:
California: Down 4,830, due to fewer layoffs in agriculture and services
New York: Down 4,401, due to fewer layoffs in transportation, construction and educational services
Oregon: Down 2,211, no reason given
Pennsylvania: Down 2,020, due to fewer layoffs in construction, transportation, entertainment, restaurants and retail
Wisconsin: Down 1,670, no reason given
North Carolina: Down 1,463, due to fewer layoffs in machinery, computer equipment and construction
Massachusetts: Down 1,349, due to fewer layoffs in construction, hotels and administrative support