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State unemployment rate holds steady at 8.4 percent

Oregon’s unemployment rate for January was 8.4 percent, nearly unchanged from the 8.3 percent in December, as the state added 4,200 jobs early this year.

The state also added about 1,200 jobs in December, according to adjusted information from the state Employment Department.

In January, the private sector added 5,000 jobs while the public sector cut 800 jobs.

In January, 182,994 Oregonians were unemployed, about 7,707 fewer than in January 2012.

State officials said the jobs picture was a little brighter during the past three years, with slow and steady job growth. Adjusted data show that for 2011, the state added 2,100 jobs. In 2012, the state added about 6,500 jobs.

In January, three major industries — financial activities, manufacturing and leisure and hospitality — had monthly gains of more than 1,000 jobs, which were partly offset by losses in government and construction. Government cut 4,100 jobs in January. Construction cut 4,900 jobs that same month.

During the past 3½ years, Oregon’s unemployment rate has gradually declined from a high of 11.6 in May and June 2009.