Jan. 18, 2007 – New claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week by 8,000 to 290,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday.

The insured unemployment rate in the week ending Jan. 6 rose by 0.1 percent to 1.9 percent nationwide, the report said. The rate gauges the number of unemployed workers who are eligible for benefits.

The biggest decreases last week were in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania, while increases were reported in New York, North Carolina, and Georgia.

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