The local unemployment rate in November dropped to its lowest level in nearly five years.

The York-Hanover unemployment rate decreased one-tenth of a percentage point in November to 6.9 percent, according to statistics released Friday by the state Department of Labor & Industry.

It hasn't been that low since February 2009, and it's nearly a percent lower than the 7.8 percent rate posted in November 2012.

Contributing to the lower rate was an increase of 1,400 jobs in the York-Hanover area throughout the year. In November, 900 jobs were added in retail as stores hired holiday help.

The number of unemployed also decreased, falling from 18,000 in November 2012 to 15,600 in November 2013.

The local labor force -- residents in the York-Hanover area available for work -- also decreased. It dropped from 230,400 in November 2012 to 226,900 in November 2013.

What caused the decline isn't tracked by the state department. It could be attributed to fewer people looking for work, retirements, families deciding to live on one income or other reasons.

Like the York-Hanover rate, Pennsylvania's rate decreased two-tenths of a point to 7.3 percent and the U.S. rate dropped three-tenths of a point to 7.0 percent.

--Reach Candy Woodall at cwoodall@yorkdispatch.com.