Unemployment in the upstate counties north of the New York City region dropped 2 percentage points between December 2012 and December 2013, according to statistics released on Tuesday by the state Department of Labor.

Jobless claims fell from 8.4 percent to 6.4 percent last month, the height of the retail shopping season.

Overall, unemployment last month in New York stands at 7.1 percent, a drop from 7.4 percent, but still higher than the national average of 6.7 percent.

Upstate Tompkins County, which includes several colleges like Ithaca College and Cornell, had the lowest unemployment in the state, 4.1 percent.

The highest unemployment remains in the Bronx, which has a rate of 10.6 percent.

Still, trouble spots remain upstate: Hamilton, Jefferson and Lewis counties all reported unemployment rates of 9.1 percent to 8.9 percent, according to the Labor Department.

ur_map by Nick Reisman