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Canada. Unemployment Up

The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits rose by ...



The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits rose by 54,300 (+7.1%) in September, following two months of declines. The largest increases in September occurred in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

The number of beneficiaries in September reached 818,000, up 63.5% from October 2008 when employment hit its peak. During this period, the largest increases occurred in Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta. The number of beneficiaries had shown a sharp upward trend from October 2008 to June 2009, but has since levelled off.

The number of initial and renewal claims received in September fell 5.0% (-14,700) to 280,700. The number of EI claims received has been trending down since the most recent peak in May 2009. Declines in the number of claims received in September were observed in most provinces.

Compared with September 2008, the number of people receiving regular EI benefits was higher in all census metropolitan areas (see map). The number of beneficiaries more than doubled in several census metropolitan areas, with the fastest year-over-year increases in Calgary and Edmonton. The number of people receiving benefits also more than doubled in Greater Sudbury, Vancouver, Victoria, Saskatoon, Hamilton and Kitchener.

Largest increases in the number of beneficiaries in Ontario and the West

In Ontario, the number of beneficiaries rose by 22,500 (+9.0%) in September, following declines in July and August. Since the start of the labour market downturn, Ontario has experienced the fastest rate of employment decline among all provinces. Over half of the decrease occurred in its manufacturing sector. During this period, the number of people receiving regular EI benefits in Ontario rose by 117,100 (+75.7%).

In Alberta, the number of regular EI beneficiaries increased by 14,400 (+25.0%) in September, following two months of slight declines. The number of beneficiaries in Alberta reached 71,900 in September, up 53,700 from the level in October 2008 when employment in the province was at its peak.

In British Columbia, 11,300 more people were receiving benefits in September, following decreases in July and August. Since the start of the labour market downturn last fall, the number of beneficiaries in the province has more than doubled to 99,400.

Sub-provincial and demographic overview

Continued large year-over-year increases in EI beneficiaries in large centres in the West

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

In Ontario, the number of EI recipients more than doubled in 10 of its 41 large centres between September 2008 and September 2009. In the southern part of the province, Hamilton and Kitchener saw the fastest increases in the number of beneficiaries. In Hamilton, the number of EI recipients rose from 4,800 to 10,400, while in Kitchener, the number increased from 3,900 to 8,400. At the same time, the number of EI recipients in Toronto rose from 46,300 to 86,600.

In the northern part of Ontario, Greater Sudbury continued to experience a sharp year-over-year increase. The number of EI recipients rose from 1,500 in September 2008 to 3,900 in September 2009. At the same time, employment in Greater Sudbury declined, mostly in the natural resources sector.

The large centres of Alberta with the fastest year-over-year growth rates were Grande Prairie, Calgary, Medicine Hat, Red Deer and Edmonton. In Calgary, the number of people receiving regular benefits increased sharply from 4,000 to 18,800, while the number of beneficiaries in Edmonton rose from 3,800 to 14,900. These steep increases coincided with year-over-year employment losses for the province in manufacturing; natural resources; and retail and wholesale trade.

In British Columbia, 15 of its 25 large centres had twice as many beneficiaries in September 2009 compared with September 2008. In Vancouver, the number of beneficiaries increased from 12,600 to 31,300, while in Victoria, the number rose from 1,600 to 3,700. During this year-long period, employment losses in the province occurred in a number of industries, with the largest declines in construction; professional, scientific and technical services; manufacturing; and transportation and warehousing.

Fastest rate of growth among youths

In September, the fastest year-over-year rate of increase in the number of EI beneficiaries continued to be among young people under 25, up 91.3% (+28,400). Young men continued to experience the most pronounced increase, as the number of beneficiaries for this group more than doubled from 20,100 in September 2008 to 41,100 in September 2009. Over the same period, the increase for young women was 68.2% (+7,500).

The number of EI recipients aged 25 to 54 increased by 62.0% to 421,100 over the 12 months ending in September, with the sharpest increase among men in this age group (+79.1%). The number of female beneficiaries aged 25 to 54 grew half as fast (+42.3%) over the same period.

The number of beneficiaries aged 55 and over increased 59.3% (+37,600) from September 2008 to September 2009. Among older men, the number rose by 68.4% (+25,500), compared with 46.4% (+12,100) among older women.
© Statistics Canada -


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