New claims for unemployment insurance dropped three percent in November, the National Insurance Institute reported Tuesday. The NII received 16,000 new claims in November, compared with 16,600 in October. There were 89,500 claims for unemployment insurance in November, down 2% from October, the NII said. "The figures point to a continued downward trend in the number of unemployed and in the number of newly unemployed who filed claims for unemployment benefits," the NII reported. " New claims for unemployment benefits have been falling since July, after claims for benefits hit a record of 96,000 in June." Since the Finance Ministry eased eligibility requirements in June, the number of unemployed entitled to special unemployment benefits rose gradually from 2,100 in June to 4,100 in September. "As a result of the agreement with the Finance Ministry, special unemployment benefits were given to unemployed with a weak economic background in the labor market, such as women and low-paid earners, who were granted a safety net in a period of economic crisis," NII director-general Esther Dominisini said in the report. Claims for unemployment benefits were still high compared with 2008, the NII said. "Despite the downward trend in recent months, total claims for unemployment benefits in 2009 have increased by 50% compared with the previous year, while new claims have risen by 40% during the same period," the NII said. The number of unemployed declined in October by a preliminary 0.3%, after rising steadily at an average monthly rate of 1.6% from May 2008 until this past June. During October, 221,600 job seekers were registered at the Employment Service, down from 226,500 in September and 186,700 in October 2008. Seasonally adjusted figures excluding holidays showed that the number of job seekers fell 3.7% to 224,700 in October, down from 233,500 in September. In October, 13,240 workers were laid off, compared with 15,716 in September, of whom 49.8% were women and 50.2% were men. The greatest number of newly unemployed were aged 25 to 34.