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Unemployment rate levels off at 8.4 percent in December

Oregon's unemployment rate stayed the same in December at 8.4 percent, as the state added about 2,000 jobs.

The rate was unchanged from November. A year ago, the unemployment rate was 9 percent.

Oregon Employment Department officials said Tuesday that employment rose by 2,000 jobs in December, with the private sector adding 2,300 jobs and the public sector dropping about 300 jobs.

Revised estimates for November show a loss of 900 jobs, when a gain of 600 was reported.

In December, 161,254 Oregonians were unemployed, a drop of 13,527 from December 2011.

During the month, the state’s trade, transportation and utilities added the most jobs, growing by 2,900 when a gain of only 400 was the normal seasonal movement. Retail trade was strong, adding 1,900 jobs at the end of the holiday hiring season.

Private-sector educational and health services added 600 jobs in December, at a time of year when a loss of 300 jobs was expected. During the month, leisure and hospitality cut only 1,300 jobs when a loss of 2,200 is the normal seasonal pattern.

Manufacturing cut 1,100 jobs in December. Nondurable goods manufacturing cut 1,700 jobs, with its food manufacturing component cutting 800.