FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The number of jobless people in Germany fell by 183,000 in December compared with a year earlier and the country finished the year with a record 44.3 million people in work.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged from the month before at 5.3 percent according to Germany's national jobs agency. Some 2.385 million people were unemployed. Their number rose 17,000 in December over the month before, but that was less than the usual winter increase.

Agency head Detlef Scheele said Wednesday that the demand by companies for new employees was still "rising strongly."

Germany has seen its unemployment rate fall amid strong exports and rising domestic demand for goods.

The number of people in work was the highest since German reunification in 1990.

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