PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Oregon's unemployment rate has fallen to 7 percent, and state economists say it's a sign of an economy accelerating out of what has been a sluggish recovery from the Great Recession.

The state Employment Department said Wednesday the jobless rate for December was the lowest in Oregon since August 2008, when it was 6.7 percent.

Read the complete jobs report (pdf)

In November, the state unemployment rate was 7.3 percent. In December 2012, it was 8.3 percent. The figures are seasonally adjusted.

The agency said the state showed stronger job growth in 2013 than in the previous two years, adding more than 37,000. The year before job growth was at 22,000.

Professional and business services grew rapidly in December and throughout last year, said state economist David Cooke.

That sector has 7,500 more jobs that a year ago, it's 3.8 percent growth rate faster than any major industry other than construction, he said. Professional and technial services employed 82,200 in December.

Government cut 1,700 jobs, fewer than projections of 2,900, he said. State government now has a near record of 82,200 jobs. Local governments have the fewest workers, 183,800, in nine years, he said.

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