California's economic recovery stumbled in May as employers shed 29,200 jobs from payrolls, a surprisingly large loss in a state that had been on the mend. The state's unemployment rate still dropped to 11.7%, from 11.8% the month before, according to numbers released this morning by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The numbers follow a slate of bad economic news throughout the country. The nation added just 54,000 jobs in May, and its unemployment rate grew to 9.1%. The previous three months, it had added an average of 220,000 jobs a month. Home prices have dropped in California and the nation to surprising lows as sales slow.

California has the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation, after Nevada, although Nevada's unemployment rate dropped significantly in May, to 12.1% from 14.9% the year before.

California had added an adjusted 14,900 jobs in April, after cutting a net 11,600 in March. It experienced five straight months of job growth from October through February.

"We do know that the picture is not terribly rosy," said Johannes Moenius, an economist at University of Redlands.

The losses were spread across sectors of the economy. Construction, manufacturing, trade, professional and business services, educational and health services, and leisure and hospitality all cut positions.