BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending March 16, decreased from the previous week's total.

The state labor department figures released Monday show the initial claims dropped to 1,889 from the previous week's total of 2,860. This is the lowest level since March 22, 2008, when initial claims were at 1,862. A decrease in the construction, health care and social assistance sectors contributed to the lower overall numbers.

Initial claims were below the comparable week a year earlier at 2,830.

The four-week moving average, which is a less volatile measure of claims, decreased to 2,639 from the previous week's average of 2,773.

Continued unemployment claims for the week ending March 16 decreased to 26,001, compared to the previous week's total of 27,583. The four-week moving average for such claims decreased to 27,576 from the previous week's average of 28,350.

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