The state’s unemployment rate dropped in December from 7.4 percent to 7.1 percent, the lowest level since January 2009, figures from the state Department of Labor show.

The state added 10,400 private-sector jobs in December, the height of the retail season, based on payroll survey of 18,000 employers.

Nationally, the unemployment rate remains lower, 6.7 percent.

“The Empire State’s economy continued to provide us with good news in December 2013. First, the state’s unemployment rate improved in December, falling to 7.1%, its lowest level since January 2009. In addition, our state’s private sector job count climbed by 10,400 to 7,503,700, reaching another all-time high,” said Bohdan M. Wynnyk, Deputy Director of the Division of Research and Statistics.

In New York City, the unemployment rate is higher, 8.1 percent. Outside of New York City, the unemployment rate stands at 6.3 percent.