Health services was one of the industries that added the most jobs in May.

Natalie Kitroeff
June 17, 2016

California’s job growth continued in May as employers added 15,200 people to their payrolls, according to a state data release.

The state’s unemployment rate ticked down for the fifth month in a row, hitting 5.2%, still higher than the national rate of 4.7%, the Employment Development Department said Friday.

The gain was slight compared with April, when the state added 70,000 jobs, revised upward from an initial estimate of 59,600.

Part of the reason unemployment declined may be that, for the first time in years, the state labor force shrank last month. About 9,000 Californians dropped out of the job market in May.

The state has added jobs almost every month since July 2011 and has recently been expanding employment faster than the rest of the nation. In the last 12 months, California added jobs at a rate of 2.8%, compared with 1.7% for the U.S. overall.

Los Angeles County added 4,900 jobs in May and its unemployment rate dipped to 4.9%, from 5.2% in April.

As in the rest of the state, the labor force in Los Angeles got smaller last month, as 3,000 workers on net dropped out of the job market. Employers in hospitality continued to drive local economic growth, adding 8,300 jobs in May.

Statewide, the best performing industries included business services and educational and health services, which added 12,800 jobs each and accounted for the bulk of the state’s growth.

Five industries cut payrolls by 17,200 last month. Manufacturing, which has been cutting jobs all year, slashed 5,000 positions in May.

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