(Washington, DC) —   The number of Americans filing initial jobless claims is falling to a three-and-a-half month low. The Labor Department reported 712-thousand Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week. Economists were expecting 725-thousand. It is the third straight week the number is below 800-thousand. Economists expect the number to continue to drop as more businesses reopen and more Americans get vaccinated.

The states seeing the biggest increase in claims were Texas, Ohio, New York, Mississippi, and West Virginia. The states that saw the biggest declines were Missouri, Wisconsin, Michigan, Rhode Island, and Minnesota.