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Oct 16, 9:03 AM EDT

How states fared on unemployment benefit claims

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The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid dropped to the lowest level in 14 years last week, the latest signal that companies are cutting few workers and hiring could pick up.

The Labor Department said Thursday that weekly applications for unemployment aid fell 23,000 to a seasonally adjusted 264,000, the lowest level since April 2000.

Here are the states with the biggest increases in applications. No state reported a decrease above 1,000. The data is for the week that ended Oct. 4, one week behind the national figures:

States with the biggest increases:

New York: Up 4,753, due to layoffs in transportation and warehousing, food services and public administration

Texas: Up 1,976, due to layoffs in manufacturing, administrative support, and finance

California: Up 1,825, no reason given

Florida: Up 1,743, due to layoffs in agriculture, construction, manufacturing and retail

Ohio: Up 1,734, due to layoffs in manufacturing

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