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FIrst-time jobless claims drop

March 29, 2012 at 11:51 AM

WASHINGTON, March 29 (UPI) -- The U.S. Labor Department said first-time jobless claims fell by 5,000 in the week ended Saturday to 359,000, pulling the four-week average down to 365,000.

The four-week rolling average decreased by 3,500 from the previous week's 368,500, Labor said.

The biggest increases in initial jobless claims for the week ended March 17 were in Florida (up 1,876), Hawaii (up 469), Alabama (up 475), Mississippi (up 405) and New Mexico (up 292).

The biggest decreases were recorded in New York (down 3,103), Texas (down 1,787), Pennsylvania (down 1,606) and California (down 1,603).

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

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