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German Unemployed Rise to 4.22 Million

The condition of Germany's malady stricken labor market deteriorated further in December, with the monthly unemployment rate rising from 9.7 percent to 10.1 percent. The country now counts 4.22 million citizens among the jobless, a figure well above the 3.5 million level that Chancellor Gerhard Schröder once promised to reach. In December, 200,000 people lost their jobs, most of whom were thrown out of work because of such seasonal factors as winter weather, the Federal Labor Office reported Thursday in Nuremberg. On average, more than 4.06 million Germans found themselves jobless in 2002, the agency reported. Florian Gerster, the office's head, blamed the soft economy and weakened domestic labor market for the decline in employment.