The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits edged down by 5,200 in October to 683,300.
Compared with the most recent low in March 2010, the number of beneficiaries edged up 1.5% or by 10,400.
Higher number of claims
To receive EI benefits, individuals must first submit a claim. In October, 257,700 initial and renewal claims were received, up 7,500 from September. This increase offset a similar decline the previous month. From April to August, the number of claims had been trending up by an average of 6,800 per month.
The increases in October occurred mainly in Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia. The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.
Provinces: Little change in beneficiaries
Changes in the number of regular beneficiaries in October were minor in all provinces.
Compared with the most recent low in March 2010, the number of beneficiaries increased by at least 3% in Nova Scotia (+4.2%), Manitoba (+3.4%), Quebec (+3.2%) and Ontario (+3.2%).
Over the same period, Alberta (-9.8%) was the only province to record a decrease in beneficiaries.
Sub-provincial and demographic overview
Employment Insurance data by sub-provincial region, sex and age are not seasonally adjusted. Therefore, they are compared on a year-over-year basis.
Most large centres showed year-over-year declines in beneficiaries
Between October 2009 and October 2010, the number of regular beneficiaries fell in 119 of the 143 large centres (see map). The number of large centres reporting declines has been relatively stable in the last seven months. Large centres are those with a population of 10,000 or more.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of beneficiaries rose in one of the five large centres, Corner Brook. This was the first increase for Corner Brook in eight months. In St. John's, the number fell by 540 to 4,100, the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year declines. The fastest rate of decrease occurred in Labrador City, which registered fewer beneficiaries in all 10 months of 2010 on a year-over-year basis.
In Quebec, the number of regular beneficiaries fell in 28 of the 33 large centres between October 2009 and October 2010. The fastest declines occurred in La Tuque, Matane, Granby, Thetford Mines, Dolbeau-Mistassini and Sorel-Tracy. Montréal recorded 4,100 fewer beneficiaries in October, the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year declines. In the census metropolitan area of Québec, the number of beneficiaries rose by 520, the fifth consecutive increase.
In Ontario, 37 of the 41 large centres posted a decrease between October 2009 and October 2010. The most notable declines were in Greater Sudbury, Chatham-Kent, Tilsonburg, Norfolk and Woodstock. In Toronto, 67,400 people received benefits in October, down 15,500 from 12 months earlier. This was the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year declines.
All 12 large centres in Alberta had fewer beneficiaries in October compared with October 2009. The pace of decline was fastest in Brooks, Camrose, Red Deer, Grande Prairie and Medicine Hat. For the seventh consecutive month, there were fewer beneficiaries in Calgary and Edmonton. In Calgary, the number of beneficiaries fell by 6,900 to 11,600. In Edmonton, the number declined by 3,600 to 11,300.
In British Columbia, the number of beneficiaries fell in 21 of the 25 large centres in the 12 months to October. The fastest declines were in Fort St. John, Cranbrook, Port Alberni, Prince George and Dawson Creek. In Victoria, the number of beneficiaries declined for the seventh consecutive month, down 600 to 3,200. In Vancouver, it fell by 2,500 to 28,700, the fifth decline in a row.
Faster decline in the number of beneficiaries among men than women
Between October 2009 and October 2010, the number of male EI regular beneficiaries fell by 67,100 (-18.4%) to 297,100. This was the eighth consecutive month with a year-over-year decline.
For men, the fastest rates of decline occurred among those aged 15 to 24 (-27.3%) and 25 to 54 (-21.1%). Over the same period, the number of beneficiaries edged down by 2.3% for men aged 55 and over.
The rate of decline was slower among female beneficiaries. The number of women receiving regular benefits decreased by 9,400 (-4.1%) to 223,200 during this year-long period. This was the fifth consecutive month of decline.
For women, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 3,100 (-16.1%) among those aged 15 to 24, and by 11,100 (-6.4%) among those aged 25 to 54. In contrast, the number of female beneficiaries aged 55 and over increased by 4,700 (+11.5%).