TRENTON— The New Jersey Labor Department says the state gained 66,400 jobs in 2012, the biggest annual increase since 2000.

The figure is more than 18,000 greater than the preliminary estimate made in January.

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The new count shows the private sector accounted for more than 59,000 of the new jobs created in 2012. Public sector employment was also up more than originally estimated.

It's the third straight year of private sector job gains in New Jersey.

Unemployment figures for January were also released Monday. They show the New Jersey jobless rate holding steady at 9.5 percent in the first month of this year, the same as in December, according to final adjusted figures.

The national unemployment rate in January was 7.9 percent. It dipped to 7.7 percent in February.

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