Andrew Edwards, Staff Writer
Created: 10/21/2011 06:34:53 PM PDT

Friday’s decline in state and local unemployment rates signified a welcome development for a region that has suffered more than most since the economy crashed about four years ago.

The Inland Empire jobless rate improved from 14.1 percent to 13.7 of the area’s workforce in September. Nonetheless, other evidence shows the region is still fairly weak more than two years after the recession’s official end.

Heavy competition for available jobs, the thousands of people calling a special telephone line seeking financial assistance and the arrival of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement to inland cities all signal varying aspects of an ailing local economy.
Local, statewide unemployment drops

Many area residents returned to work as children returned to school, with about 1,200 Inland Empire workers found jobs at local school districts. Schools’ hiring resulted in governments hiring more workers, 1,700, than any other sector last month in the Inland Empire.School hiring also helped reduce unemployment in the Los Angeles area, as colleges and universities and local schools hired some 24,000 people in September.

San Bernardino County: 13.4% (-0.7% from Aug.)

Los Angeles County: 12.4% (-0.1% from Aug.)

Riverside County: 13.4% (-0.7% from Aug.)

California: 11.9% (-0.2% from Aug.)

SOURCE: California Employment Development Department

“The reality is, if you’re looking to the mainstream media, therecovery has been happening for a year, but we haven’t seen it on the ground,” said Gary Madden, director of San Bernardino County 211.

San Bernardino County 211 is a telephone line for people seeking referrals to health and social service provides. It receives most of its funding from Inland Empire United Way.

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