- Associated Press - Thursday, January 23, 2014

BOSTON (AP) - State officials say the unemployment rate in Massachusetts dropped slightly last month while the state added more than 10,000 private sector jobs.

The office of Labor and Workforce Development said the state’s unemployment rate stood at 7 percent, down from 7.1 percent in November. For the second month in a row, the jobless rate in Massachusetts was higher than the U.S. average, which stood at 6.7 percent in December.

November had marked the first month in more than six years that the state had posted a higher rate than the nation as a whole.

The Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics said preliminary estimates showed Massachusetts gaining 10,300 jobs in December.

The bureau also said revised estimates from November showed the state adding 5,100 jobs that month, down from an original estimate of 6,500 new jobs.

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