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First-time jobless claims drop by 5,000

March 22, 2012 at 1:30 PM

LONDON, March 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. Labor Department said first-time jobless claims fell 5,000 in the week ended Saturday to 348,000, pushing the four-week rolling average to 355,000.

Last week's drop followed a decrease of 14,000 the preceding week.

The four-week rolling average decreased 1,250 from the previous week's 356,250, Labor said.

The biggest increases in initial jobless claims for the week ended March 10 were in Kentucky (up 742), Puerto Rico (up 643), Alabama (up 475), North Carolina (up 471) and Tennessee (up 457).

The biggest decreases were recorded in New York (down 14,222), California (down 4,696), Illinois (down 1,290), Florida (down 1,215) and Pennsylvania (down 1,129).

The U.S. unemployment rate was 8.3 percent in February, unchanged from January.

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