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Industries gain jobs as state unemployment sticks at 8.4 percent


Oregon’s unemployment rate held steady in February at 8.4 percent as the state added about 6,800 jobs.

That means 178,782 Oregonians were unemployed in February, about 14,084 fewer individuals than in February 2012.

State employment economists had some good news Tuesday: The state gained 5,400 jobs in January, about 1,200 more jobs than was reported last month. The largest gains were in leisure and hospitality and in professional and business services.

Job growth in February was largely spurred by the private sector, which added 6,000 jobs, while the public sector added 800 jobs. Five major industries added at least 800 jobs, but the gains were partially offset by modest job losses in two major industries, according to state employment officials.

Construction activity increased significantly in February, with the industry adding 1,800 jobs when a loss of 900 was the normal seasonal movement. Manufacturing was expected to add 300 jobs in February, but instead added 1,100.

Leisure and hospitality sectors — hotels, restaurants and bars — added 2,600 jobs in February, at a time of year when a gain of 1,600 was expected.

Trade, transportation, and utilities cut about 100 jobs in February, when a loss of 2,900 is the normal seasonal pattern. Professional and business services lost about 800 jobs, following a revised gain of 1,300 in January. Despite the loss in February, the industry has seen a strong rebound during the past three years, state officials reported.