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(New York Times) — New York City’s unemployment rate fell below 9 percent in December to its lowest level in 20 months, but not because more residents found work at the end of the year.  The decline in the unemployment rate to 8.9 percent, from 9.1 percent in November, resulted from a decrease in the number of people looking for work, possibly because they were discouraged about their prospects. Indeed, data released Thursday by the state labor department showed that the number of private-sector jobs in the city declined slightly in December, shrinking by 3,600 jobs, or 0.1 percent.

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