The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits decreased by 24,800 (-4.4%) in July to 535,700, the largest of 10 consecutive monthly declines.
There were notable percentage decreases in all provinces except New Brunswick, where it was little changed, and Newfoundland and Labrador, where the number of beneficiaries was up slightly.
Downward trend in the number of Employment Insurance beneficiaries continues in July
More claims in July
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.
While there were fewer people receiving benefits in July, the number of initial and renewal claims rose by 8,800 (+3.8%) to 243,300, the third increase in four months.
Number of claims up in July
There were more claims in several provinces in July, with the highest percentage increase in Ontario (+19.0%). This increase follows a period of little change in the number of claims in Ontario since January. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of claims fell for the second consecutive month, down 10.0% in July.
Fewer beneficiaries in most provinces
There were fewer people receiving regular EI benefits in July, with the largest percentage decrease occurring in Manitoba, down 9.1% to 11,700.
The number of beneficiaries also fell in Quebec (-5.8%), Ontario (-5.7%), Alberta (-5.4%), Saskatchewan (-5.3%), Nova Scotia (-5.2%) and British Columbia (-4.2%). The declines in July extend the downward trends in these provinces that began in the fall of 2010.
Newfoundland and Labrador (+1.2%), which was the lone province where there were more beneficiaries in July, posted a second consecutive increase.
Sub-provincial and demographic overview
Most large centres show year-over-year declines
Between July 2010 and July 2011, the number of people receiving regular benefits at the national level fell by 147,000 (-22.3%). Declines occurred in nearly all 143 large centres (see map). Large centres are those with a population of 10,000 or more.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, there were fewer beneficiaries in four of the five large centres. The largest percentage decline occurred in St. John's (-16.3%), extending the trend of monthly year-over-year decreases that began in April 2010. There were also notable percentage declines in the 12 months to July in Grand Falls-Windsor and Corner Brook.
All large centres in Nova Scotia had fewer beneficiaries in July compared with July 2010. The most notable percentage decline was in Halifax, where the number fell by 17.9% to 5,200 people.
In New Brunswick, five of the six large centres had fewer beneficiaries in the 12 months to July, with the fastest pace of decline in Moncton (-11.5%) and Saint John (-8.6%).
The number of regular beneficiaries fell in 31 of the 33 large centres in Quebec. The fastest pace of decline occurred in the census metropolitan area of Québec, where the number of beneficiaries was down 30.0% to 8,100. In Montréal, there were 25.2% fewer beneficiaries, continuing the trend of year-over-year monthly declines that began in March 2010. There were also notable declines in Sherbrooke, Saint-Hyacinthe, Magog, Granby, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu and Victoriaville.
All large centres in Ontario had year-over-year declines in the number of beneficiaries, with the largest percentage decrease occurring in Greater Sudbury. In Toronto, the number fell by 26.9% to 64,100, extending the trend of year-over-year declines that began in March 2010. Other large centres with marked percentage decreases in July include Thunder Bay, Tillsonburg, Guelph, Port Hope, Chatham-Kent and North Bay.
In Manitoba, the number of people receiving regular benefits fell in all four large centres in the 12 months to July. In Winnipeg, the number of beneficiaries declined by 32.5% to 6,000, the largest of 11 consecutive decreases.
In Saskatchewan, there were year-over-year declines in all eight large centres. The fastest pace of decline occurred in Regina, where the number of beneficiaries was down 41.7% to 1,100, prolonging the trend of monthly year-over-year decreases which started in July 2010. In Saskatoon, the number of beneficiaries fell by 35.0% to 2,000, the largest of eight consecutive declines.
In Alberta, all 12 large centres had fewer beneficiaries compared with July 2010. In Calgary, the number fell 36.4% to 9,700. At the same time, it fell in Edmonton by 35.5% to 9,900. Other large centres with notable year-over-year declines include Red Deer, Cold Lake, Grande Prairie and Medicine Hat.
The number of beneficiaries fell in all 25 large centres of British Columbia. The number fell by 32.8% in Vancouver and by 23.1% in Victoria. Prince Rupert, Campbell River, Kamloops, Powell River and Terrace were also among those large centres with marked percentage declines.
In July, the number of men receiving regular benefits fell 22.5% from 12 months earlier to 272,100. There were declines of 24.6% for men aged 25 to 54 and 23.6% for those under 25 years of age. The number of male beneficiaries aged 55 and over also fell in the 12 months to July, down 15.2%.
During this year-long period, the percentage decline for women was similar to that for men. The number of women receiving benefits fell by 22.1% to 239,500. It decreased by 23.4% for women aged 25 to 54 and by 22.6% for those under 25. The decline for women 55 and over was 17.0%, the largest of five consecutive decreases for this group.