FILE - NH Job Openings, unemployment, jobless, labor 12-10-2020

A "Now Hiring" sign hangs on the front wall of a Harbor Freight Tools store Dec. 10, 2020, in Manchester, New Hampshire.

(The Center Square) – Claims for unemployment benefits in New Hampshire dropped last week, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's weekly report.

There were 623 new filings for state jobless benefits filed for the week that ended Jan. 8, the agency reported on Thursday. That's 433 fewer than in the previous week.

Continuing state unemployment claims – which lag behind a week – totalled 3,461 in the week ending Jan. 8. That's 544 more than in the previous week.

Another five new jobless claims were filed for the federal Extended Benefits program, which covers unemployed workers who've tapped out their regular state unemployment benefits.

The extended benefits are one of three federal unemployment programs created by Congress in response to the pandemic. While the programs expired on Sept. 4, jobless workers are still filing claims for benefits.

The weekly report only shows first-time unemployment claims that were filed for the previous week, not those that were successfully processed.

New Hampshire has distributed nearly $2 billion in federal and state unemployment benefits to workers since March 2020, when the COVID-19 outbreak began.

The state's unemployment rate dropped slightly to 2.7% in November, according to New Hampshire Employment Security.

The number of seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment jobs last month increased to 666,200, according to the state agency, which is 1,600 more jobs than the previous month.

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed decreased by 1,060 over the month to 20,270, the state reported. That's 11,810 fewer jobless claimants than in November 2020.

Nationally, new unemployment filings ticked up with 230,000 new claims filed in the week that ended Jan. 8 – 23,000 more than the previous week according to the U.S. Labor Department.

Still, continuing jobless claims, which lag behind a week, dropped nationally by 194,000 to about 1.55 million for the week that ended Jan. 1, the agency said.

More than 1.94 million Americans were still receiving unemployment benefits in the week ending Dec. 25, according to the report.