Job loss in the retail sector dragged down the state economy in December, causing the state unemployment rate to rise two-tenths of a percent.

Retail trade not only didn’t hire as many seasonal employees for the Christmas shopping season, retailers actually cut jobs. The loss of more than 3,000 retail jobs pushed the state unemployment rate up from 9.4% in November to 9.6% in December. The state also saw losses in construction and tourism, sectors that normally feel the brunt of a recession.

There were bright spots in the report issued by the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The state gained 1,500 jobs through the employment of temporary help as well as administrative and support services. Durable goods manufacturing actually added 1,200 jobs in December.

Payroll employment in the state’s major metropolitan areas took a hit last month of 2009. Employment in Kansas City dropped by nearly 5,000 jobs. In St. Louis, payroll employment decreased by 4,700.