First-time jobless claims by newly-laid off people fell by 11,000 last week to 448,000, the Department of Labor reported today. The four-week average rose to 462,500; analysts believe that the four-week average of jobless claims needs to fall below 400,000 for job growth to occur.

Separately, the DOL also reported that for the week ended April 10, nearly 150,000 people dropped off the rolls of the long-time jobless.

The week ended April 17, New York and California both saw big decreases in jobless claims; Puerto Rico, Iowa, and Georgia all saw significant increases in unemployment benefit applications.