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(Oregon Public Broadcasting) — December's unemployment rate dropped from 7.3 percent to 7 percent. That's the lowest mark in five years, according to the Oregon Employment Department.

Oregon's job growth overall in 2013 was much stronger than in the prior two years. The state added 37,000 jobs last year.

In December, the state added 4,400 jobs. Those job gains were concentrated in professional and business services and in government. Those sectors alone added 2,800 jobs.

Nick Beleiciks is a state employment economist.

"This is good news. It seems like that slow job growth that we've seen in the recovery is behind us. So as long as we keep this rate going we'll see some real recovery from the recession."

Beleiciks says Oregon lost about 150,000 jobs in the recession, but two-thirds of those jobs have been recovered. He says the state should get back to pre-recession levels in 2015.

The most recent figures show that nearly 132,000 Oregonians are still unemployed after adjusting for seasonal patterns.
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