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Jobless insurance claims decline

The number of people seeking unemployment insurance claims has steadily declined for the past two months, possibly blueprinting a better job market for 2011, the Ministry of Employment and Labor said Tuesday.

The number of new claimants for unemployment insurance stood at about 130,000 in January, down 6.5 percent from a year earlier. The figure was 82,000 in December, a 12.8 percent decrease from the same period of the previous year.

The government paid a total of 306 billion won ($273 million) to 376,000 people last month.

The number of beneficiaries is down 11,000, or 2.8 percent, from the year before, while the amount of insurance paid decreased by 400 million won, or 0.1 percent.

By Bae Ji-sook (