Jobless Claims Take Steep Drop: The number of newly laid off Americans filing jobless benefit claims took its steepest dive in eight months last week, but analysts cautioned that much of the plunge resulted from a shortened workweek. However, California recorded an increase of 4,041 jobless claims--the biggest of any state--in another sign of the state's weak economy. "The labor market is improving with glacial speed," said economist Bruce Steinberg of Merrill Lynch & Co., addressing the nationwide trend. "There is job creation, unlike last year, but it's still not very fast." The Labor Department said applications for unemployment insurance fell by 38,000 to 335,000 during the week ended April 10, the biggest drop since they plummeted by 131,000 at the beginning of last August. The drop pushed the total to the lowest level since 325,000 were filed during the week ended Feb. 13. Many analysts had expected the number to shrink by 9,000.