How US states fared on jobless aid applications

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Fewer Americans sought unemployment benefits last week, a positive sign that the job market is slowly improving. Weekly unemployment benefit applications fell 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 365,000. When applications fall consistently below 375,000, it generally suggests hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate.

Here are the states with the biggest changes in unemployment benefit applications. The state data are for the week that ended Aug. 25, one week behind the national data.

States with the biggest increases:

New York: Up 3,110, due to layoffs in transportation, educational services, health care and social assistance industries

North Carolina: Up 1,237, due to layoffs in industrial machinery, computer equipment and social service industries

Georgia: Up 1,039, due to layoffs in manufacturing and administrative support

States with the biggest decreases:

California: Down 1,757, no reason given

Pennsylvania: Down 1,273, due to fewer layoffs in electrical equipment, construction and technology services

Michigan: Down 1,203, no reason given