COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WVOC) - South Carolina unemployment has fallen below the national jobless rate for the first time in more than a decade.

The Department of Employment and Workforce says that the state's jobless rate for December was 6.6%, which makes the fourth straight monthly improvement.

Nationwide, unemployment was estimated at 6.7% for last month.

State officials say December's figures mark the first time since January 2001 that South Carolina's jobless rate fell below the national rate.

Unemployment rates declined last month in all but six of South Carolina's 46 counties.

State officials attribute the improvement to combined gains of about 6,200 jobs in the trade, transportation, utilities and hospitality sectors.