The number of nonfarm jobs in Louisiana rose to 1,989,900 in December, a 0.5 percent increase of 9,800, compared to a year earlier.

Nationally, nonfarm jobs increased by 1.5 percent, triple Louisiana's growth rate, 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 800 jobs, the second month in a row the beleaguered sector has reported job gains.

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

The biggest losses took place in trade, transportation and utilities, which slipped 11,400 jobs, and government, which dropped by 4,700 jobs.

Meanwhile, Louisiana's unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent in December, down from 6 percent a year earlier. Nationally, the unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent, down from 4.7 percent a year earlier.

“While there remains room for improvement, we are pleased to see consistent declines in the state unemployment rate and continued over-the-year improvement in job opportunities,” said Ava Dejoie, executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission. “The increasing vitality of the state’s labor market is evidenced by every new hire, and we expect to see additional growth moving forward.”

Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter, @TCB_TheAdvocate.