Florida had its third consecutive week with fewer than 4,000 first-time unemployment claims, according to a report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor. The agency estimated that Florida had 3,730 new unemployment applications last week, down from 3,830 during the week that ended March 5. Florida had 3,328 claims during the week ending Feb. 26. This is the first time since at least 2006 that Florida has recorded three consecutive weeks below 4,000 claims. Florida has averaged 4,100 new claims over the past four weeks. The federal report came after the state Department of Economic Opportunity last week announced Florida’s unemployment rate in December and January was 3.5 percent. The state’s December rate had initially been projected at 4.4 percent before annual revisions by the Department of Labor. With the revisions, Florida’s overall job totals were back to similar levels as before the COVID-19 pandemic crashed into the economy in early 2020. The state in mid-January had an estimated 364,000 people out of work from a labor force of 10.448 million. Florida will update the employment numbers --- reflecting mid-February conditions--- on March 25.