Slightly fewer people applied for unemployment benefits last week, a sign the job market may be improving slowly.
Applications ticked down 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 400,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell for the fifth straight week to 407,750.
Below are the states with the biggest drops in claims. No states reported increases above 1,000. The data is for the week ending July 23, one week behind the national data:
States with the biggest declines:
California: Down 23,689, due to fewer layoffs in the service industry
New York: Down 8,037, due to fewer layoffs in education-related services, transportation, and construction
North Carolina: Down 7,511, due to fewer layoffs in the furniture, textile, lumber and construction industries
Georgia: Down 6,399, fewer layoffs in the manufacturing, service, trade and construction industries
South Carolina: Down 5,387, due to fewer layoffs in manufacturing
Florida: Down 5,432, due to fewer layoffs in agriculture, manufacturing, construction and services
Michigan: Down 5,188, due to fewer layoffs in manufacturing
Alabama: Down 4,830, due to fewer layoffs in transportation, textile, construction, and apparel
Kentucky: Down 4,113, no reason given