Natalie Kitroeff
May 19, 2017 – 2:45 p.m.

California employers slashed 16,300 jobs from payrolls in April, according to data released by the state’s Employment Development Department on Friday. It was the first month that the state has posted a job loss since June 2016.

It was also the first time in about five years that California grew more slowly than the nation year over year. Since last April, the state’s non-farm payrolls have grown by 236,700, a 1.4% uptick. The rest of the country grew jobs by 1.6% over the same period.

“It’s unwise to overreact to one month of data … but it’s possible we are starting to see some moderation in growth in the state,” said Lynn Reaser, the chief economist of the Fermanian Business & Economic Institute at Point Loma Nazarene University.

Seven sectors posted job losses, including professional and business services and trade, transportation and utilities, which combined cut a net 23,400 jobs last month.

The best-performing industries were the usual suspects: The construction industry and the leisure and hospitality industry added a net 14,600 workers.

Still, unemployment fell to 4.8%, from 4.9% in March, the lowest rate since 2001. The national jobless rate last month was 4.4%

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