Applications for unemployment benefits fell last week for the third time in five weeks, signaling modest improvement in the job market.

Here are states with the biggest increases and decreases in claims. The state-by-state data are for the week ending Jan. 21, one week behind the national figures.

States with the biggest declines:

California: Down 20,698, as fewer claims were processed during holiday-shortened week

New York: Down 9,433, due to fewer layoffs in construction, manufacturing and services

Pennsylvania: Down 8,481, due to fewer layoffs in the construction, professional, technology, entertainment and service industries

Michigan: Down 6,812, no reason given

North Carolina: Down 4,875, due to fewer layoffs in the transportation, furniture and fixtures, textiles and computer equipment industries

Florida: Down 4,725, due to fewer layoffs in agriculture, construction, manufacturing and retail

Georgia: Down 4,561, due to fewer layoffs in the manufacturing, trade, administrative and service industries

States with the biggest increases:

Washington: Up 1,616, due to layoffs in agriculture, construction, transportation and warehousing and retail