Gains in construction and health care helped lift the number of nonfarm jobs in Louisiana to 1,997,200 in November, a 0.7 percent increase of 14,800, compared to a year ago.

Nationally, nonfarm jobs increased by 1.4 percent, double Louisiana's growth, according to preliminary figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The numbers have not been adjusted to reflect seasonal changes.

Louisiana's mining and logging sector, which includes the oil and gas industry, added 400 jobs, the first year-over-year increase since 2014, when the price of oil began a yearslong slump.

Eight of the 11 economic segments the bureau tracks added jobs.

The biggest losses took place in trade, transportation and utilities, which slipped 7,600 jobs, and government, which dropped by 4,400 jobs. 

Meanwhile, Louisiana's unemployment rate dropped to 4.2 percent in November, down from 5.4 percent a year ago. Nationally the unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent, down from 4.4 percent a year ago.

Baton Rouge, New Orleans add jobs in October; Lafayette down 33rd straight month year-over-year

Eric Smith, associate director of Tulane Energy Institute, said unemployment is at the lowest level seen in the state since June 2008 when rising production from OPEC and U.S. shale oil producers first led to steep oil price declines.

While Louisiana is seeing improvement in the mining sector, the dramatic story for Louisiana employment has been in the downstream refining and petrochemical sector, Smith said.

"That's where all of the new capital expenditures are occurring," Smith said.

Statewide, manufacturing is up 1,400 jobs for the year, Smith said. The increase reflects the rapid growth in exports of liquefied natural gas from the Lake Charles area, as well as strong exports of refined products from Louisiana's refineries.

In addition, commodity plastics, used in making final products, are also ramping up as a result of increased production of natural gas liquids, he said. Many of the processing units that convert natural gas liquids into olefins, the chemical compounds used in making plastics, are located in Louisiana with more being built.

"There are certainly some clouds on the horizon, the offshore arena, where shallow water is dead and deep water drilling is growing, albeit slowly," he said.

There are only 19 offshore rigs working, roughly a third of the number in 2008, Smith said.