Kevin Smith, Staff Writer
Posted: 05/17/2013 06:52:28 PM PDT
Updated: 05/17/2013 09:24:37 PM PDT

Related story: L.A. County’s jobless rate under 10% for first time in 4 years The Inland Empire’s unemployment rate fell to a 4 1/2-year low of 9.6 percent in April and the region added 900 jobs, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.

April’s decline from a revised jobless rate of 10.5 percent the previous month also brought the index to single digits for the first time in 4 1/2 years. Year-over-year results were even better. Between April 2012 and April 2013, the unemployment rate fell from 11.6 percent to 9.6 percent and the two-county region added 18,400 jobs.

“The Inland Empire has seen year-over-year job growth of 2 percent or more since the middle of last year,” said Robert Kleinhenz, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. “It’s been happening for some time, but of course you’re looking at some big gains coming off of some significant drops. ”

April’s annual job growth slowed to 1.6 percent, but Kleinhenz said that was likely a reflection of government budget cuts under sequestration and an expiring payroll tax cut that went into effect in January.

“That has impacts on a national level and it really causes a drag on the GDP, the national economy and the local economy as well,” he said. “We’re looking at fairly weak GDP growth in the second and third quarters. ”

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