Fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, though the labor market remains weak, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
The number of new jobless claims dropped by 16,000 jobs to 461,000, while the four-week moving average rose by 750 to 483,250, the report said.
Damages from Hurricane Ike continued to account for 12,000 new claims. By contrast, the effects of Hurricane Gustav have largely faded.
Despite the lingering impact of the storms, the number of new claims in Texas fell 21,000. At the same time, California, Ohio, and Michigan shed the most jobs, the report said.
The Labor Department blamed layoffs for job losses in nearly every state. Industries cutting jobs ranged from manufacturing to the service sector.
This week, the Federal Reserve reported a steep 2.8 percent drop in industrial production in September. Industrial production for the third quarter has fallen six percent total, the report said.