The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits rose last week after reaching the lowest level in 5 1/2 years. But the broader trend suggests companies are laying off fewer workers and could step up hiring in the months ahead.
Here are the states with the biggest declines in unemployment benefit applications. The state data are for the week that ended Aug. 10, one week behind the national data. No states reported an increase of more than 1,000:
States with the biggest decreases:
California: Down 4,105, due to fewer layoffs in services
Ohio: Down 1,554, due to fewer layoffs in manufacturing