BOSTON (AP) -
Officials say Massachusetts gained more than 55,000 jobs in 2013, the largest calendar year increase since 2000.
The job growth came in a year during which the state's unemployment rate reached - and later exceeded - the U.S. unemployment rate for the first time since 2007.
The office of Labor and Workforce Development on Thursday also released the preliminary jobs reports for January. It showed a net decline of 4,500 jobs during the month, while the unemployment rate fell three-tenths of a point to 6.8 percent.
That national unemployment rate was 6.6 percent in January.
Gov. Deval Patrick called the 2013 jobs gain "very encouraging," adding that he was confident of the direction the state's economy was moving. He also noted that not all Massachusetts residents were sharing in the recovery.