The number of nonfarm jobs in Louisiana fell by 17,900, or 0.9 percent, to 1,992,300 during 2015 — hit hardest by the struggling oil and gas industry.

Louisiana’s mining and logging sector, which includes oil and gas, lost 10,000 jobs, or 19.1 percent of the industry’s total for the year, the latest preliminary estimates from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show.

The bleeding appears to be slowing, as the sector lost only 300 jobs from November to December.

Retail trade dropped 8,600 jobs, and government lost 6,100 jobs. However, education and health services grew by 10,200 jobs and construction by 6,000. The preliminary figures were not adjusted to reflect seasonal changes.

“The growth of jobs in the health care and education fields is helping Louisiana to weather the drop in oil prices,” said Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Ava Dejoie. “While oil prices are still low and it’s too soon to say when we may see an upturn in employment, the growth of family-sustaining jobs in health care and education is an encouraging sign for Louisiana.”

Nationally, the number of jobs grew by 2.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Louisiana Workforce Commission will release the December civilian labor force data for the state’s nine metro areas and Louisiana’s 64 parishes on Feb. 2.

In a separate Bureau of Labor Statistics report, Louisiana’s unemployment rate — the people looking for work but unable to find it — dropped to 5 percent in December, compared with 6.5 percent a year ago.

The average unemployment rate among states was 4.5 percent in December.

The preliminary figures showed the number of unemployed people in Louisiana dropped to 106,500, compared with 141,000 in December 2014.

A portion of Louisiana’s decrease may have been because of a drop in the civilian labor force, the people employed or looking for work. The labor force dipped 3.2 percent to 2.11 million in December, compared with 2.18 million a year earlier.

Follow Ted Griggs on Twitter, @tedgriggsbr.