The jobs report released Thursday marked an end to the slow and moderate economic growth of 2012, as the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced that the unemployment rate rose to to 6.7 percent in December.

That’s up from 6.6 percent in November , but two-tenths of a percentage point below the December 2011 level.

Alan Clayton-Matthews, an economist at Northeastern University, said although sluggish, the growth encouraged people to re-enter the labor force.

“The increase in the number of jobs encouraged people to enter the labor force and that kept the unemployment rate from falling,” Clayton-Matthews said. It only fell two-tenths of a percentage point in the past year, and in the last few months is actually has been rising.”