Arizona's unemployment rate continued its downward trend in the month of December.

The rate dropped to a seasonally adjusted 7.6 percent, and it was 7.8 percent in November.

The change from November to December was mostly the work of the state adding jobs, as opposed to past months, where people leaving the labor force played a major role.

"The number of employed people actually went up in December," said state economist Aruna Murthy. "We had 5,388 additional employed people in the labor force, and our unemployment declined by 7,621."

The biggest gains came from trade, transportation and utilities, which added 5,600 jobs.

Education and health services added 2,400 jobs, and financial activities added 2,200 jobs, which are also very significant gains.

The three sectors that lost jobs in December were: manufacturing with 900 jobs lost, and construction with 200 jobs lost.

In the government sector, there were 4,200 jobs cut, although Murthy said many of those losses are due to changes in seasonal employment and are normally regained early in the year.

The national rate of unemployment also dropped from seven percent in November to 6.7 percent in December.