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State job growth climbs in late 2014

Oregon added 24,300 jobs during the last three months of 2014, as the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent in December from 7 percent in November, the lowest level since August 2008.

It was the largest three-month gain since the state started keeping records on job gains in 1990. Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 8,200 in December. That followed a revised gain of 8,700 in November.

State employment officials said Wednesday that in December seven of the major industries each added at least 800 jobs. Retail trade added 2,000 jobs. Government added 2,000. Health care and social assistance added 1,600 jobs. Construction added 900 jobs. Transportation, warehousing and utilities added 800 jobs. Leisure and hospitality added 800 jobs.

Gov. John Kitzhaber praised the job growth and said the state should “build on this momentum and ensure that this economic growth is reaching across the state and good jobs with benefits are being created that help middle class families meet their basic needs.”

“Oregon’s economy is growing and we’re seeing the results of our efforts to improve the business climate and provide small businesses with the tools they need to grow,” Kitzhaber said.