Missouri’s unemployment rate has reached its highest level since May, 1984.

The state labor department puts the rate at 7.3 percent for December. Durable goods manufacturing declined by 2,500. The department says private educational services and the field of health care and social assistance gained about 2,000 new jobs.

For the year of 2008, the state lost 26,500 jobs with the biggest losses in transportation equipment manufacturing, which includes motor vehicles. The losses in the next two categories–financial activities and the leisure and hospitality industry–combined do not equal the losses in transportation equipment.