By the Associated Press
The number of Americans seeking unemployment aid fell sharply for the fourth straight week, a sign the job market may be improving. Weekly applications for unemployment benefits fell 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 343,000. That's the lowest level in two months and second-lowest this year.
Here are the states with the biggest increases in applications. No state reported large drops. The state data are for the week ended Dec. 1, one week behind the national data.
States with the biggest increases:California: Up 24,411, due to processing of claims left over from Thanksgiving week, and layoffs in services and agriculture Pennsylvania: Up 14,636, due to layoffs in construction, transportation, hotels, restaurants and professional services North Carolina: Up 13,961, no reason given New York: Up 11,025, due to layoffs in transportation, construction, and restaurants Texas: Up 10,435, due to processing of claims left over from Thanksgiving week Georgia: Up 8,708, due to layoffs in manufacturing, construction, health care, and hotels and restaurants Illinois: Up 8,478, due to layoffs in the construction, manufacturing and administrative industries