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Unemployment claims fluctuate

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid increased last week after falling sharply two weeks ago. Despite the rise, the level of applications remains near pre-recession levels, a sign hiring will remain healthy.

The Labor Department says weekly unemployment benefit applications rose 12,000 to a seasonally adjusted 293,000. Yet the four-week average, a less volatile measure, fell for the second straight week to 298,500.

Here are the states with the biggest increases and decreases in applications. The data is for the week that ended Sept. 13, one week behind the national figures:

States with the biggest decreases:

Michigan: Down 2,473, due to fewer layoffs by wholesalers

New Jersey: Down 1,573, due to fewer layoffs in hotels, restaurants and construction

States with the biggest increases:

California: Up 5,269, no reason given

Missouri: Up 1,810, due to layoffs in manufacturing, retail and auto manufacturing

Oregon: Up 1,691, no reason given


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