RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Virginia's unemployment rate dipped in December to 5.5 percent, the lowest jobless number in four years.
The seasonally adjusted rate announced Friday is down a fraction of a percentage point from November, still good enough to make December the third consecutive month that joblessness has declined.
The state's overall unemployment rate is below the national average of 7.8 percent.
The Virginia Employment Commission reports job gains statewide in the financial sector and in manufacturing. They offset losses in professional and business services, trade and transportation and leisure and hospitality.
Gov. Bob McDonnell called the December rate "great news" for the state. He said it means more Virginia families have financial security and that businesses are continuing to grow.
McDonnell credited the state's pro-business climate and conservative fiscal policies.