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Germany

Press: German Jobless Total Rises

The number of people out of work in Germany reached 4.43 million in December, an increase of 173,000 from the total for November, the dailies Die Welt and Bild reported on Monday. Compared with December 2003, the number represented an increase of 113,000 and the jobless total was the highest seen in a month of December since 1997, the newspapers said, quoting preliminary estimates from the Federal Labor Agency. Looking at 2004 as a whole, the number of people claiming social welfare in the euro zone's biggest economy averaged 4.38 million, unchanged from 2003, the reports said. Experts estimate that the German jobless total could rise to five million in February or March as a result of labor market reforms.

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