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

There were 569 new applications for state unemployment benefits filed for the week that ended Dec. 25, the agency reported on Thursday. That's four fewer claims than in the previous week.

Continuing state unemployment claims – which lag behind a week – totaled 2,469 in the week ending Dec. 18, a decline of 260 over the preceding week.

New claims for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance also dropped last week. There were 38 new PUA claims, which is 54 less than the prior week.

Another three claims were filed for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, another federal program, according to the report.

Meanwhile, seven new claims were filed under the federal Extended Benefits program that covers jobless workers who've maxed out their state unemployment insurance. That's six more claims than the previous week.

All three federal unemployment programs, which were created by Congress in response to the pandemic, expired on Sept. 4 but jobless workers are still filing claims for benefits.

The weekly federal labor 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 jobless claims dropped by 8,000 to a historic low of 198,000 in the week that ended Dec. 25, according to the U.S. Labor Department. The four week average for new unemployment claims was 199,250, the federal agency said, which is the lowest average since the week of Dec. 25, 1969.

Continuing unemployment claims, which lag behind a week, dropped by 140,000 to about 1.71 million nationally for the week that ended Dec. 18, the agency said.

Overall, more than 2.17 million Americans were still receiving state or federal jobless benefits in the week ending Dec. 11, according to the report.