I.E. unemployment rate inches to almost 9 percent

     The unemployment rate is inching even higher in the San Bernardino-Ontario-Riverside region, clocking in at almost 9 percent for the month of July.
     That’s according to a Friday report published by the state’s Employment Development Department.
     It stood at 5 percent in late 2006.
     Several job losses came from state government and the education sector, where summer recess is giving several teachers a three-month break.
     The leisure-hospitality industry shed 2,000 employees. More than half of them worked at restaurants and bars.
     Between July 2007 and July 2008, nonfarm employment shrunk by 26,000 jobs.
     The region is suffering from the consequences of a badly-bruised housing market. Residential and commercial construction workers are baring the brunt of this downturn.
     Throughout the mid- to late-1990s and during the early 2000s housing boom, the area’s construction employment soared to more than 127,000 jobs by 2006, according to a quarterly economic report released in July by Redlands-based regional economist John Husing.
     But within two years, San Bernardino and Riverside counties lost more than 28,000 of these jobs — about 22 percent of the construction hiring peak in 2006.
     –matthew.wrye@inlandnewspapers.com

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