In December, the number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits fell for the third time in four months, down 8,300 (-1.6%) to 517,000. The recent decreases brought the number of beneficiaries down to a level similar to that of the spring of 2012.
All provinces had fewer beneficiaries in December, with the largest percentage decreases occurring in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador as well as Manitoba.
Claims virtually unchanged in December
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 totalled 226,700 in December, virtually unchanged from the previous month.
Provincially, there were fewer claims in Manitoba (-6.1%), Alberta (-3.2%), New Brunswick (-2.1%) and Quebec (-1.9%), while the number increased in Nova Scotia (+4.3%), Newfoundland and Labrador (+2.7%) and Ontario (+1.7%). There was little change in the other provinces.
Fewer beneficiaries in all provinces
The number of people receiving regular benefits fell in all provinces in December.
The largest percentage decrease occurred in Prince Edward Island, where the number of beneficiaries declined 4.6% to 7,800 in December, following four months of little change.
There was also a notable decline in Newfoundland and Labrador, where the number of beneficiaries fell by 4.1% to 32,400, continuing a downward trend that began in the fall of 2011.
The number of people receiving regular benefits in Manitoba decreased by 3.3% to 12,900 in December, following a 1.5% decline the month before.
The number of beneficiaries in Saskatchewan fell by 2.5% to 9,700 in December, after little change in the previous three months.
In Nova Scotia, the number of beneficiaries declined 2.1% to 29,000, following a decrease of similar magnitude in the previous month.
Smaller declines also occurred in New Brunswick (-1.9%), Alberta (-1.7%), Quebec (-1.1%), Ontario (-0.8%) and British Columbia (-0.8%).