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State's unemployment rate hits record low in January

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The state added about 2,600 jobs to start off the year 2017

Oregon's unemployment rate dropped to a record low 4.3 percent in January as the state added about 2,600 jobs early this year.

It was the lowest unemployment rate since the state began collecting the information in 1976. It also dropped from 4.5 percent in December.

The only other time that Oregon's rate reached below 5 percent was between November 1994 and September 1995, when the rate dropped as low as 4.7 percent. In January, the U.S. unemployment rate was 4.8 percent.

State officials said that Oregon nonfarm payroll employment rose by 2,600, which was less than the average of 3,500 jobs added per month during the past six months. Growth was strongest in construction, which added 2,100 jobs, and retail trade, which added 1,200. Health care and government lost the most jobs in January, about 1,100 each.

During the past 12 months, Oregon has added 43,200 jobs. Growth was fast in construction, which added 10,000 jobs. Other industries also added jobs: transportation, warehousing and utilities grew by 2,600 jobs; financial activities was up 3,700 jobs; information technology was up 1,200 jobs; and health care and social assistance added 8,000 jobs.

Only manufacturing (down 1,400 jobs) and mining and logging (down 200 jobs) lost jobs during the past 12 months.