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Canada. Number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) up

In January, the number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits increased by 12,400 (+2.3%) to 561,100. This increase returned the number of beneficiaries to roughly the same level as in June 2011.

The number of beneficiaries rose in eight provinces, with the largest percentage increase occurring in Quebec.

Number of Employment Insurance beneficiaries up in January

Number of Employment Insurance claims rise slightly in January
To receive EI benefits, individuals must first submit a claim. The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.

Nationally, the number of initial and renewal claims rose by 3,700 (+1.6%) to 242,300 in January.

Provincially, the number of claims increased 4.4% in Quebec, 3.9% in Ontario and 2.8% in New Brunswick. Claims fell 7.8% in Alberta, 3.2% in British Columbia, 1.4% in Manitoba and 1.4% in Nova Scotia. There was little change in the remaining three provinces.

Number of Employment Insurance claims edges up in January

More beneficiaries in most provinces

The number of people receiving regular EI benefits in January rose in eight provinces, with the largest percentage increase occurring in Quebec (+5.3%).

There were also notable percentage increases in Manitoba (+1.7%) and Ontario (+1.5%). At the same time, the number of beneficiaries edged down in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Sub-provincial and demographic overview

EI data by sub-provincial region, sex and age are not seasonally adjusted and are therefore compared on a year-over-year basis.

Most large centres continue to post year-over-year declines
Of the 143 large centres, 122 posted declines in the number of beneficiaries between January 2011 and January 2012 (see map). Large centres are those with a population of 10,000 or more.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of beneficiaries decreased in all five large centres. In St. John's, the number of people receiving benefits fell 12.8% to 5,000, continuing a series of year-over-year declines that began nearly two years earlier.

In Prince Edward Island, both large centres had fewer beneficiaries in January. The biggest percentage decline was in Charlottetown, where the number of beneficiaries fell 15.6%.

In Nova Scotia, all five large centres had fewer beneficiaries in the 12 months to January. The largest percentage decline occurred in Halifax, where the number of people receiving benefits fell 14.6% to 6,000. This continued a downward trend that began in the spring of 2010.

In New Brunswick, two of the six large centres had fewer beneficiaries compared with 12 months earlier. The number of people receiving benefits fell 11.5% in Moncton and 7.8% in Saint John. At the same time, there were 7.8% more beneficiaries in Fredericton. There was little or no change in the three other large centres of the province.

In Quebec, the number of beneficiaries declined in 24 of the 33 large centres in the 12 months to January, with the largest percentage decreases in Rouyn-Noranda, Amos, Montréal and Shawinigan. In Montréal, the number of people receiving benefits fell 12.0% to 70,500, extending a series of declines that began nearly two years earlier. In Thetford Mines, the number of beneficiaries rose 13.1%.

Of the 41 large centres in Ontario, 35 had fewer beneficiaries in the 12 months to January. The largest percentage decreases occurred in Hamilton, Guelph, Chatham-Kent, Stratford and Timmins. In Toronto, the number of beneficiaries fell 20.3% to 64,900, continuing the trend of year-over-year monthly declines that started in the spring of 2010.

In Manitoba, the number of people receiving regular benefits was down in all four large centres in the 12 months to January. In Winnipeg, the number of beneficiaries fell 9.9% to 7,900, the 17th consecutive month of year-over-year declines.

In Saskatchewan, all eight large centres continued to post year-over-year declines in the number of beneficiaries, the largest occurring in Moose Jaw and Saskatoon. In Saskatoon, 2,200 people received benefits, down 19.5%, continuing the downward trend that began just over one year earlier. In Regina, the number of beneficiaries fell 10.9% to 1,600, continuing a series of declines that began in the summer of 2010.

In Alberta, all 12 large centres had fewer beneficiaries in January compared with 12 months earlier. The largest percentage decreases occurred in Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Cold Lake, Red Deer, Calgary and Edmonton. In Calgary, 9,700 people received benefits, down 34.1%, and in Edmonton, 10,600 people received benefits, down 31.3%. For the third consecutive month, Calgary and Edmonton posted the highest year-over-year declines among all census metropolitan areas.

In British Columbia, the number of beneficiaries fell in 24 of the 25 large centres, with the largest percentage declines in Fort St. John, Powell River and Squamish. In Vancouver, 27,300 people received benefits in January, down 22.2% from 12 months earlier. In Victoria, the number of beneficiaries was down 20.0% to 3,600.

Demographic groups

In January, 466,800 men received regular benefits, down 9.8% from January 2011. The number of beneficiaries fell at roughly the same pace for men under 25 (-10.0%) and men aged 25 to 54 (-10.7%). Among men aged 55 and over, the number declined 6.9%.

A total of 233,400 women received regular benefits in January, down 13.4% from 12 months earlier. This was the first time in just over two years that the percentage decline was larger for women than for men.

Among women under 25, the number of beneficiaries fell 15.8%, while for those aged 25 to 54, it decreased 14.2%. For women aged 55 and over, the decline was 9.5%.

© Statistics Canada -


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