New England's unemployment rate was significantly lower than the national average in 2011, with Rhode Island the only state in the region that posted a higher average for the year.

The New England office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the regional jobless rate was 7.7 percent, down eight-tenths of a point from 2010. Rhode Island's rate was 11.3 percent, down four-tenths of a point.

Four of the region's six states had averages considerably lower than the national average: New Hampshire at 5.4 percent, Vermont at 5.6 percent, Massachusetts at 7.4 percent and Maine at 7.5 percent. Connecticut's average was 8.8 percent for the year.

The national average for 2011 was 8.9 percent.

Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee has called the state's jobless rate unacceptable.