Jobless claims dropped nationwide. But here in New Jersey, seasonal factors caused a big spike last week.

Economic analyst Patrick O'Keefe of J-H Cohn in Roseland says the more-than-40 percent increase in initial unemployment claims in Jersey is attributable to seasonal furloughs of school district employees. O'Keefe says when we look at the broader picture, we have to keep in mind that the unemployment insurance claims are a proxy for layoffs. And that is why they will fluctuate.

He says last month's big increase in Jersey job creation was due in part of Revel's opening in Atlantic City. O'Keefe says beyond that, new jobs in the state will continue to grow, but at a very slow pace for the near-term. He says it is slow but steady progress in adding to the employment level here in New Jersey.

The Federal Labor Department said Thursday weekly applications fell to a seasonally adjusted 386,000. That's down from 392,000 the previous week, which was revised up. The four-week average, which smooths week-to-week fluctuations, was mostly unchanged at 386,750.