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Vt. unemployment rate drops to 4.7 percent

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont's unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of a percent in January, making it the fourth lowest rate in the country, the state Labor Department said Monday.

The 4.7 rate in January was the sixth consecutive month that unemployment has not increased, the Labor Department said.

"Vermont's economic recovery during 2012 was actually stronger than first reported," said Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan.

The January rate compared to 4.9 percent in December and 5 percent in January 2012, the Labor Department said.

Many Vermont employers cooperated with the department's outreach efforts, which have helped reduce the length of unemployment for job seekers, Noonan said.

The U.S. unemployment rate in January was estimated at 7.9 percent, while the rate in New England was 7.1 percent.

Around Vermont, unemployment ranged from 3.1 percent in the Warren-Waitsfield area to 8.2 percent in Newport.

February unemployment statistics are due to be released next week.