WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply last week, though the drop likely reflected volatility around the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's holidays.
The Labor Department says applications fell 42,000 to a seasonally adjusted 338,000. The less-volatile four-week average rose 4,250 to 348,000.
Here are the states with the biggest changes in applications. The state data are for the week that ended Dec. 14, one week before the national data.
States with the biggest decreases:
—New York: Down 12,706, due to fewer layoffs in construction, transportation and warehouses and food services.
—Pennsylvania: Down 10,866, due to fewer layoffs in transportation and construction.
—Georgia: Down 8,340, due to fewer layoffs in the manufacturing, construction, administrative and support services, trade and health care and social assistance industries.
—Texas: Down 4,904, no reason given.
—Wisconsin: Down 4,821, no reason given.
States with the biggest increases:
—California: Up 4,622, due to layoffs in the services, retail, finance and insurance and real estate industries.
—Illinois: Up 3,686, due to layoffs in manufacturing.
—Massachusetts: Up 2,331, due to layoffs in administrative and waste management and the construction industries.
—Ohio: Up 1,529, due to layoffs in manufacturing.
—Indiana: Up 1,473, due to layoffs in construction and manufacturing.