Iowa’s unemployment rate dropped two points to 6.3 percent in December from 6.6 percent in November, reflecting the largest monthly decrease in the rate for the year. The state’s jobless rate stood at 6.5 percent one year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate also took a sharp drop in December, falling to 9.4 percent from a November rate of 9.8 percent.

Total employment climbed to a seven-month high of 1,569,500 in December, suggesting that the overall trajectory of the statewide economy has improved in recent months. The total number of working Iowans was reported at 1,564,000 in November and at 1,567,600 one year ago.