That's up from 6.2 percent in February and 4.2 percent in March 2008. The data was released Friday ahead of a new fiscal forecast for state revenues.
Department of Labor officials said initial benefit claims were down 182 in March compared with February, but up about 12,600 over March 2008.
There were more than 213,000 continuing claims for benefits, up from 163,700 in February and 91,500 in March 2008. Statewide job losses remained highest in manufacturing, construction and professional and business services.
Gains were seen in local and federal government hiring, as well as education and health care, though the latter two categories are slowing in growth.
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