April 16, 2009

Jobless claims fall sharply

First-time claims for U.S. unemployment insurance decreased sharply during the week ending April 11, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday.

In the week, 610,000 workers filed initial benefits claims, 53,000 fewer than the previous week.

The decrease contributed to a four-week rolling average of 651,000, which was a decrease of 8,500 from the previous week's rolling average of 659,500.

The U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.5 percent.

The biggest increases in claims for the week ending April 4 were reported by Michigan with 5,408 additional claims; Missouri, which added 4,986; and Texas, which added 3,734, the report said.

State-by-state statistics lag a week behind the national report.

For the week ending April 4, the biggest decreases were reported by California with a decline of 4,708 claims; Ohio, declining by 2,719; and Alabama with 2,421 fewer claims than the week of March 28.