L.A. County’s unemployment rate dipped to 4.4 percent in April after three straight months at 4.5 percent as local employers added a modest 5,000 jobs to their payrolls, according to state figures released May 18.

The slight drop in the unemployment rate came as the number of Angelenos in the labor force dipped by a slight 1,000 to 5.141 million, according to the figures from the state Employment Development Department. The numbers of Angelenos who reported they were working in April and the number who reported they were unemployed each also dropped by 1,000.

All these figures suggest the county is near full employment, with very slight movement in the local labor force.

The unemployment rate was below the 4.8 percent recorded in April 2017. But it was higher than the 4.2 percent unemployment rate the state registered last month and the 3.9 percent national figure.

L.A. County’s two largest cities, Los Angeles and Long Beach, reported the same 4.1 percent unemployment rate in April. The city with the lowest unemployment rate was Palos Verdes Estates at 0.8 percent, while the city with the highest rate was Lancaster at 5.7 percent. (Rates in some small unincorporated communities were as high as 10 percent.)

Meanwhile, the county recorded a net addition of 4,900 payroll jobs in April – fewer than the 13,000 reported in March – for a total of 4,481,700 jobs. Adjusted for seasonal factors, the gain was 6,400 jobs.

Several sectors reported small gains in the number of jobs, led by accommodation/food services (up 3,400 jobs), professional/scientific/technical services (up 2,600 jobs) and construction (up 2,500 jobs).

The transportation/warehousing sector shed a net 1,500 jobs in April, with the volatile entertainment sector close behind with a drop of 1,300 jobs.

Over the 12-month period ending in April, employers in Los Angeles County added a net 64,700 jobs to their payrolls, an increase of 1.5 percent. Among the biggest gainers: Professional/business services (up 16,000 jobs), healthcare/social assistance (up 14,500) and accommodation/food services (up 10,800 jobs).

One of the sectors with the largest net losses in jobs over the past 12 months was public education, which shed a net total 4,900 jobs at both the state university and local K-12 levels.

Economy, education, energy and transportation reporter Howard Fine can be reached at hfine@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.

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