Employment Insurance

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November 2010 (Previous release)

In November, 673,700 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, down by 5,700 (-0.8%) from October. The number of beneficiaries edged down in five provinces.

The number of regular beneficiaries has been relatively stable since March 2010.

 Number of Employment Insurance beneficiaries relatively stable from March to November

Note to readers

All data in this release are seasonally adjusted unless otherwise specified.

Each month, Statistics Canada provides analysis of the current labour market situation, using Employment Insurance (EI) statistics and other sources. Earlier this month, the Labour Force Survey (LFS) provided a picture of overall labour market conditions, including unemployment, total employment and those affected by changes in the labour market.

In this release, Statistics Canada provides additional sub-provincial detail through the EI statistics. Details by industry will follow with data from the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours.

EI statistics are produced from an administrative data source from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. These statistics may, from time to time, be affected by changes to the Employment Insurance Act or administrative procedures. The number of regular beneficiaries and the number of claims received for October and November 2010 are preliminary. In this release, large centres correspond to those with a population of 10,000 or more.

The number of beneficiaries is a measure of all persons who received EI benefits from the 7th to the 13th of November. This period coincides with the reference week of the LFS.

EI statistics indicate the number of people who received EI benefits, and should not be confused with data coming from the LFS, which provides information on the total number of unemployed people.

There are always a certain proportion of unemployed people who do not qualify for benefits. Some unemployed people have not contributed to the program because they have not worked in the past 12 months or their employment is not insured. Other unemployed people have contributed to the program but do not meet the eligibility criteria, such as workers who left their job voluntarily or those who did not accumulate enough hours of work to receive benefits.

The change in the number of regular EI beneficiaries reflects various situations, including people becoming beneficiaries, people going back to work, and people exhausting their regular benefits.

Employment Insurance claims declined

To receive EI benefits, individuals must first submit a claim. There were 248,100 initial and renewal claims received in November, a decline of 8,400 (-3.3%) compared with October. The largest decreases occurred in Quebec and British Columbia.

There has been little overall change in the number of claims since July 2010. Claims provide an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.

Number of Employment Insurance claims relatively stable since July

Slight decreases in five provinces

In November, the number of regular EI beneficiaries fell slightly for the second consecutive month in Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador as well as Manitoba. In contrast, there was a slight increase in Nova Scotia for the month. Changes in the number of regular beneficiaries were minor in the remaining provinces for November.

In Ontario, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 4,300 to 211,800, while in Quebec, it fell by 3,700 to 189,000. In both provinces, the number of beneficiaries has changed little since March 2010.

In British Columbia, 81,300 people received regular EI benefits in November, down by 1,100 from October. This level was also virtually unchanged compared with March.

In Nova Scotia, the number of beneficiaries rose by 570 (+1.7%) to 34,600. This was 6.6% higher than the level in March 2010.

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.

Continued year-over-year declines in most large centres

Between November 2009 and November 2010, the number of regular beneficiaries fell by 81,600 (-12.5%) at the national level, with declines in 120 of the 143 large centres (see map). The number of large centres reporting declines has been relatively stable in the last eight months. Large centres are those with a population of 10,000 or more.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of beneficiaries declined in all five large centres. In St. John's, it fell by 530 to 4,200, the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year declines. The fastest rate of decrease occurred in Labrador City, which registered fewer beneficiaries in all 11 months of 2010 on a year-over-year basis.

In Quebec, the number of regular beneficiaries fell in 29 of the 33 large centres between November 2009 and November 2010. The fastest declines occurred in Lachute, Saint-Georges, Cowansville, La Tuque and Dolbeau-Mistassini. Montréal recorded 5,600 fewer beneficiaries, the ninth consecutive month of year-over-year declines. In the census metropolitan area of Québec, the number of beneficiaries rose by 370, the sixth consecutive increase.

In Ontario, most large centres posted a decrease. The most notable declines were in Greater Sudbury, Chatham-Kent, Woodstock, Guelph and Kitchener–Cambridge–Waterloo. In Toronto, the number fell by 17,300 to 68,000, the ninth consecutive month of year-over-year declines. In Greater Sudbury, the number of regular EI beneficiaries fell by 1,900 to 2,400 in November, the largest of five consecutive declines.

In Alberta, all 12 large centres had fewer beneficiaries. The pace of decline was fastest in Brooks, Camrose, Red Deer, Grande Prairie and Medicine Hat. In Calgary, the number of beneficiaries fell by 6,900 to 11,800, the largest of eight consecutive months of year-over-year declines. In Edmonton, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 3,400 to 12,300, also the eighth consecutive decline.

In British Columbia, most large centres had fewer beneficiaries in November 2010 than a year earlier. The rate of decline was most pronounced in Fort St. John, Port Alberni, Cranbrook, Prince Rupert, Dawson Creek and Prince George. In Vancouver, 30,900 people received regular benefits in November, down 2,800 from a year earlier. The number of beneficiaries fell by 620 to 3,500 in Victoria.

Demographic groups

Faster decline in the number of beneficiaries among men than women

Between November 2009 and November 2010, the number of male EI regular beneficiaries decreased by 17.2% to 332,500, the ninth consecutive month of year-over-year decreases. The declines were most pronounced among men under 25 (-23.3%) and men aged 25 to 54 (-20.3%). The decline among men 55 and over was much slower (-2.3%).

Over this year-long period, the number of female beneficiaries decreased by 4.9% to 238,600, the sixth consecutive year-over-year decline. The most prominent decline was among women under 25 (-15.2%), followed by a decline for those aged 25 to 54 (-7.3%). In contrast, there was an 8.9% increase among women aged 55 and over.

Available on CANSIM: tables 276-0001 to 276-0006, 276-0009, 276-0011, 276-0015 and 276-0016.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 2604.

Data tables are also now available online. From the Key resource module of our website under Summary tables, choose Subject then Labour.

Data on Employment Insurance for December will be released on February 17.

A set of maps, Employment Insurance Statistics Maps, November 2010 (73-002-X, free), is now available online. The maps show percent changes in the number of people receiving regular EI benefits for all census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations in Canada. From the Key resource module of our website, under Publications, choose All subjects, then Labour.

For more information, or to order data, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-866-873-8788; 613-951-4090; labour@statcan.gc.ca). To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Dominique Pérusse (613-951-4064) or Vincent Ferrao (613-951-4750), Labour Statistics Division.