The number of laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits fell last week for the third consecutive time. However, in North Carolina, jobless claims were up. It's a sign that the labor market may be stabilizing after a worrisome jump in layoffs earlier in the year. The Labor Department reports that the number of applications for jobless benefits totaled 316-thousand last week, a decline of four-thousand from the previous week. The third straight drop in claims pushed them down to the lowest level in six weeks and provided evidence that the labor market is not seriously weakening even though the overall economy is slowing. The biggest increases in claims were in Tennessee, North Carolina and Wisconsin. For the week ending March 10th, 34 states and territories reported declines in claims before adjusting for normal seasonal variations. A total of 19 states and territories saw claims rise during that week.
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