San Diego’s unemployment rate dipped to 8.1 percent in December, down from a revised 8.4 percent in November, the lowest it’s been since December 2009 when it was 7.4 percent, according to the state’s Employment Development Department.

The local rate continued to stay below that of California, which was at 9.8 percent (seasonally adjusted) last month, but above the national jobless rate of 7.6 percent.

The retail segment added 1,800 jobs last month to handle the Christmas shopping season, accounting for 95 percent of the job growth. The region showed a net gain of 700 jobs to bring total nonfarm employment to 1.271 million.

That’s a net gain of 20,300 jobs over the 12 months, or an increase of 1.6 percent.

The area’s jobless rate always declines in the last month and is expected to rise in January when the temporary workers hired for the shopping season are laid off, said Joe Briceno, labor market analyst for the Employment Development Department.

Over the year, the biggest contributor to the net gain in jobs came from the professional and business sector, which added 7,000 jobs. Within that sector, some 5,100 of those jobs were in a subgroup called administrative and support that includes temporary workers.

Seven other sectors added jobs last year, with the next largest being the one that includes retail trade, which added 4,300 jobs. Manufacturing was the only sector showing a net loss of 2,000 jobs over the year.

— Mike Allen