Oregon jobless rate down to 7 percent

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- The State Employment Department says Oregon's jobless rate is now at 7 percent after dropping for more than four years. The unemployment rate was 7.1 percent in December and 7 percent in January.

The agency said Tuesday that employment gains in January were modest, with small increases in the construction and leisure and hospitality sectors, and a small decrease in government payrolls.

But, the Employment Department says, job growth in the past year has approached the 3 percent rate of the Oregon economy before the Great Recession.

Job numbers since January 2013 rose by 44,000, or 2.6 percent. The numbers are for seasonally adjusted nonfarm employment.

The Employment Department says job growth in the boom years 1993 to 1997 was close to 4 percent.