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PORTLAND --Metro area unemployment held steady at 7.3 percent in August, unchanged from July, according to the Oregon State Employment Department.

That puts the region on par with the national average and down from last August when unemployment was at 8.1 percent.

Estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show non-farm employment grew by 1,000 jobs last month.

Private education and health services led gains followed by the leisure and hospitality industry. Professional and business services shed jobs after making strong gains in July. The Financial Activities super sector, which includes finance, insurance and real estate, broke a 4-month growth streak and cut 900 jobs.

According to the state, the financial activities industry is the only large sector of the local economy still struggling to gain momentum. The department said rising interest rates probably contributed to recent job losses.

Over the year, the Portland metro area has added 26,200 jobs and an estimated 84,100 area residents were unemployed and looking for work, the state said.

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