Neil Nisperos, Staff Writer
Created: 04/20/2012 10:52:11 AM PDT

The Inland Empire’s unemployment rate rose to 12.7 percent in March, with the region adding only 100 non-farm jobs. The rate was 12.5 percent in February.

Professional and business services registered the largest month-over- month drop in employment, falling by 2,900 jobs. Construction dropped by 1,200 jobs.

Economists say the month-to- month data should be viewed in light of the increase of 10,500 non-farm jobs in the region from March 2011 to March 2012.

More unemployed individuals are looking for work, which indicates the economy here is gaining strength, said Inland Empire economist John Husing.

Inland Empire agricultural employment in the past month increased by more than 9 percent, gaining 1,300 jobs.

The regional government sector grew by 2,200 jobs and educational and health services also grew by about 2,100 jobs.

“Consistently for the last three months, we’re seeing much higher job growth this year than last year,” Husing said. “We saw an increase in the number of people with jobs compared to a year ago, and we saw a decrease in the number of people who didn’t have jobs.”

While there was much growth in the private sector, the public sector lost about 4,900 jobs, Husing said.

“If it wasn’t for the jobs being lost in city, county government, state and federal, as well as in the K-12 schools and the colleges, the economy would have been a lot stronger,” Husing said.

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