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People wait in line to enter a job fair Friday, Dec. 2, 2011, in, Portland, Ore. The unemployment rate fell last month to its lowest level in more than two and a half years, as employers stepped up hiring in response to the slowly improving economy. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

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Unemployment at lowest since 2009

WASHINGTON -- The unemployment rate, which has refused to budge from the 9 percent neighborhood for two and a half frustrating years, suddenly dropped in November, driven in part by small businesses that finally see reason to hope and hire.. Economists said there was a long way to go, but


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