Weekly jobless claims decreased by 8,000 last week to 470,000, putting the four-week average at 456,250, an increase of 9,500.

States reported 304,000 fewer people receiving extended unemployment benefits in the week of Jan. 9, for a total of 5.3 million people on extended unemployment. This is 3.6 million more people than that week in 2009.

For the week ended Jan. 16, Pennsylvania and New York both reported decreases in claims of more than 20,000; at the same time, California reported an increase in claims of 43,000. The reason? Not more layoffs, but the state clearing off a three-week processing backlog.

The California unemployment office is notoriously difficult to deal with; we hope that this news means that people owed money can keep the lights on a bit longer.