The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits declined slightly (-5,400 or -1.0%) to 541,200 in October, continuing a year-long downward trend.
The number of beneficiaries fell in nine provinces, with the most notable declines occurring in Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, Manitoba and Ontario. In New Brunswick, the number receiving benefits rose slightly.
Number of Employment Insurance beneficiaries slightly down in October
More claims in October
The number of initial and renewal claims rose by 9,600 (+4.2%) to 240,700 in October. Claims increased in Ontario (+7.7%), Quebec (+4.8%), Alberta (+4.7%) and British Columbia (+4.4%).
The number of claims fell in Nova Scotia (-1.3%), Prince Edward Island (-1.2%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (-1.0%). It was virtually unchanged in Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick.
Number of claims up in October
Number of beneficiaries down in nine provinces
There were fewer beneficiaries in nine provinces. The most notable declines occurred in Alberta (-2.5%), Newfoundland and Labrador (-2.2%), Manitoba (-2.1%) and Ontario (-1.7%).
The declines in Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario extended a downward trend that began two years earlier. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the decrease followed four months of increases.
Sub-provincial and demographic overview
Year-over-year declines in most large centres continue
Between October 2010 and October 2011, the number of people receiving regular benefits fell by 105,100 (-20.0%) nationally. Declines occurred in 136 of the 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. In St. John's, the number fell 15.4%, continuing a downward trend that began 19 months earlier. There was also a notable decline in Grand Falls-Windsor.
In Nova Scotia, all five large centres had fewer beneficiaries in October 2011 compared with October 2010. The largest decrease occurred in Halifax, where the number fell 11.4% to 4,300, extending the downward trend that began in spring 2010. Cape Breton also showed a notable decrease.
In New Brunswick, four of the six large centres had more beneficiaries compared with 12 months earlier, with the most notable increase in Bathurst. The number of beneficiaries fell in Moncton (-12.8%) and in Saint John (-8.5%).
In Quebec, the number of beneficiaries fell in 32 of the 33 large centres. The fastest decline occurred in the census metropolitan area of Québec (-27.3%). In Montréal, the number of people receiving benefits fell 24.4% to 42,500, continuing the downward trend that began in spring 2010. There were also marked year-over-year decreases in Rouyn-Noranda, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Saint-Hyacinthe, Dolbeau-Mistassini, Alma and Granby.
In Ontario, 40 of the 41 large centres had fewer beneficiaries compared with 12 months earlier, with marked percentage decreases in Tillsonburg, Thunder Bay, Stratford, Chatham-Kent and Guelph. In Toronto, the number of beneficiaries fell 28.3% to 48,900, continuing a downward trend that started in spring 2010. The number of beneficiaries increased in Cornwall.
In Manitoba, the number of people receiving regular benefits was down in all four large centres in the 12 months to October. In Winnipeg, the number of beneficiaries declined by 28.0% to 4,200, the 14th consecutive month of year-over-year decreases.
In Saskatchewan, all eight large centres recorded year-over-year declines, with the fastest decreases occurring in Regina and Moose Jaw. In Regina, the number of beneficiaries fell 38.6% to 620, continuing the downward trend that began in summer 2010. In Saskatoon, 1,200 people received benefits, down 28.7%, the 11th consecutive decline.
All 12 large centres in Alberta had fewer beneficiaries in October 2011 compared with October 2010. The largest declines were in Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat and Lethbridge. In Calgary, the number of beneficiaries dropped 40.2% to 7,000, while in Edmonton, it fell 39.2% to 6,900.
In British Columbia, the number of beneficiaries fell in all 25 large centres, with the fastest percentage declines in Fort St. John, Vernon and Kamloops. In Vancouver, the number of people receiving benefits totalled 19,700 in October, down 31.8% from 12 months earlier. In Victoria, 2,400 people received benefits, down 24.2%.
The number of men receiving regular benefits fell 21.4% to 235,400 between October 2010 and October 2011. The pace of decline was similar for men under 25 (-21.5%) and those aged 25 to 54 (-22.5%). Among men aged 55 and over, the number of beneficiaries fell 17.6%.
The number of women receiving benefits in October totalled 183,800, down 18.3% from October 2010. Among those under 25, the number of beneficiaries fell 22.2%, and for those aged 25 to 54, it was down 18.8%. For women 55 and over, the rate of decline was slower (-15.0%).