First-time claims for unemployment benefits are way down in the US this week, and Michigan led the way among the states with the sharpest declines. The U-S Labor Department reports 289,000 people across the country filed claims last week. That’s 14,000 fewer than the previous week’s adjusted total of 303,000. The report says there were 3,700 fewer claims in Michigan. The state says the reduction was due to a lower number of layoffs in the wholesale trade industry.