Buried in Friday’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report on the country’s unemployment situation was this disheartening fact: 9,000 employees of the mining and resource extraction sector lost their jobs in October.

That brings total job losses in that sector to 17,000 since May, according to BLS.

The Bureau, which is a division of the Labor Department, defines the “mining” industry thusly:

The Mining sector comprises establishments that extract naturally occurring mineral solids, such as coal and ores; liquid minerals, such as crude petroleum; and gases, such as natural gas. The term mining is used in the broad sense to include quarrying, well operations, beneficiating (e.g., crushing, screening, washing, and flotation), and other preparation customarily performed at the mine site, or as a part of mining activity.

“Mining lost 9,000 jobs in October, with most of the decline occurring in support activities for mining,” BLS reported Friday morning. “Since May of this year, employment in mining has decreased by 17,000.”

Energy has become a hot-button issue of late as the country debates major regulations on industries that fall under BLS’s “mining” rubric and taxpayer incentives for other energy sectors.

While the president often touts his policies as friendly to the conventional fuel industry, BLS’s numbers suggest the sector is hitting a financial rough patch.

“The American people have endured more than four years of economic hardship, yet Washington regulators have continued their assault on affordable energy and the jobs that developing our domestic resources could provide, particularly on federal lands,” said the American Energy Institute in a Friday news release on the BLS numbers. “We cannot experience lasting economic recovery or create the jobs that will drive our energy future with the status quo.”

The Heritage Foundation profiled some of the workers in this sector of the economy July video on uranium mining:

>>> Read the Heritage Foundation report: The American Conservation Ethic