San Diego County’s unemployment rate increased to 8.6 percent in January, up from a revised 8.2 percent in December, and down from the 9.5 percent rate in January 2012, according to the latest report from the state’s Employment Development Department.

The region’s jobless rate compared favorably with California’s for the same month, which came in at an adjusted 9.8 percent, but above the 8.5 percent rate for the entire country.

The biggest reason behind San Diego’s rising unemployment rate was a decline of 9,400 jobs in the sector that includes retail trade, which accounted for 80 percent of the losses due to stores laying off temporary workers hired for the Christmas shopping season.

Seven other sectors showed job losses during the month led by leisure and hospitality, down 4,100; government, down 2,800; and professional and business services, down 2,000.

Over the 12 months to last January, the region gained a net of 30,600 jobs or 2.5 percent. The sectors that contributed the most to the yearlong net gain were professional and business services, which added 11,000 jobs; and educational and health services, which added 5,700 jobs.

Except for mining and manufacturing which were flat over the 12 months, the remaining nine nonfarm job sectors showed net gains.

— SDBJ Staff Report