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How states fared on unemployment benefit claims

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The Associated Press | March 7, 2013 08:33 AM EST | AP


Weekly applications for US unemployment aid fell to a seasonally adjusted 340,000 last week, cutting the four-week average to the lowest level in five years. The drop is a positive sign ahead of Friday's February jobs report.

Here are the states with the biggest increases and decreases in applications. The state data are for the week ended Feb. 23, one week behind the national figures.

States with the biggest increases:

Massachusetts: Up 4,024, due to school vacations and bad weather

North Carolina: Up 1,995, due to layoffs in construction, transportation, warehousing and concrete products industries

Illinois: Up 1,782, due to layoffs in construction, manufacturing and administrative support

States with the biggest decreases:

California: Down 40,352, due to fewer layoffs in all sectors, particularly services

New York: Down 2,070, due to fewer layoffs in the construction, retail, and healthcare industries