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German Jobless Rate Climbs in December

German unemployment climbed to 10.4 percent in December, the highest rate for the month since 1997, federal officials reported on Thursday. The number of jobless people rose to 4.376 million, or 8 percent higher than in December 2002. In western Germany, the unemployment rate was at 8.4 percent, while in the east it was 17.9 percent. Nonetheless, for the first time in three years the number of officially unemployed people in the east declined: In December, 1.564 million were jobless in the east, 13,000 fewer than 2002.