By Vicki Needham - 04/07/11 02:42 PM EDT
The number of people receiving unemployment benefits and getting extended payments also decreased.
The four-week moving average, which smooths the volatility of the weekly number, decreased to 389,500 from 395,250.
The number of people continuing to collect unemployment benefits fell by 9,000, to 3.72 million, in the week ended March 26. The continuing claims figure does not include the number of workers receiving federal extended benefits.
Those who’ve used up their 26 weeks of state benefits and are collecting emergency and extended payments under federal programs decreased by about 91,400, to 4.27 million, in the week ended March 19.
Across the nation, 33 states and territories reported a decrease in claims, while 20 showed increase.
In March, the national unemployment rate dropped to 8.8 percent as employers added 216,000 jobs after an increase of 194,000 in February.