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The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits declined by 13,300 (-2.0%) in January to 640,200, the sixth decline in seven months. The number of beneficiaries decreased in seven provinces, with the fastest decline in Ontario.
Fewer Employment Insurance claims
To receive EI benefits, individuals must first submit a claim. There were 242,400 initial and renewal claims received in January, down 4,900 (-2.0%) from December. With this decline, the number of claims was similar to levels observed last June.
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 December 2010 and January 2011 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 January 9 to 15. 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.
The situation across Canada varied. Ontario experienced the largest decline (-8,400), followed by Quebec (-1,600) and Alberta (-500). Claims increased in all other provinces and territories, most notably in New Brunswick (+1,100).
Claims provide an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.
Largest declines in beneficiaries in Ontario, British Columbia, Quebec and Alberta
All provinces except those in Atlantic Canada recorded a fourth consecutive monthly decline in the number of beneficiaries in January.
In Ontario, the number of regular beneficiaries fell by 11,200 (-5.5%) to 192,600, and was the largest of four consecutive monthly declines in the province.
In British Columbia, the number of beneficiaries fell by 1,900 (-2.4%) in January to 76,100, while it declined by 1,500 (-0.8%) to 184,000 in Quebec. In Alberta, the number declined by 1,400 (-3.0%) to 44,800.
In New Brunswick, the only province with a notable increase in January, the number of beneficiaries rose by 840 (+2.5%) to 34,300.
Sub-provincial and demographic overview
Employment Insurance data by sub-provincial region, sex and age are not seasonally adjusted and are therefore compared on a year-over-year basis.
Year-over-year declines in most large centres continued
Between January 2010 and January 2011, the number of regular beneficiaries fell by 98,900 (-11.3%) at the national level, with decreases in 122 of the 143 large centres (see map). The number of large centres reporting year-over-year declines has been relatively stable over the past 10 months. Large centres are those with a population of 10,000 or more.
The five large centres in Newfoundland and Labrador all had fewer EI beneficiaries in January. The fastest decrease occurred in St. John's, where the number fell by 710 to 5,700. This was the 10th consecutive month of year-over-year declines.
The number of regular beneficiaries fell in 29 of the 33 large centres in Quebec between January 2010 and January 2011. The fastest declines occurred in Saint-Georges, Granby, Dolbeau-Mistassini and Rouyn-Noranda. Montréal recorded 7,800 fewer beneficiaries, the 11th consecutive month of year-over-year declines. In the census metropolitan area of Québec, the number of beneficiaries declined by 430, the first decrease in eight months.
In Ontario, 36 of its 41 large centres posted declines between January 2010 and January 2011. The most notable declines were in Greater Sudbury, Windsor, Tillsonburg, Leamington and Belleville. In Toronto, 80,400 people received benefits in January, down 19,500 from 12 months earlier. This was the 11th consecutive month of year-over-year declines.
In Alberta, all 12 large centres had fewer regular beneficiaries. The pace of decline was fastest in Brooks, Grande Prairie, Red Deer, Camrose and Medicine Hat. In Calgary, the number of beneficiaries fell by 6,200 to 14,600, the 10th consecutive month of year-over-year declines. In Edmonton, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 3,200 to 15,300, also the 10th consecutive decline.
In British Columbia, the number of beneficiaries fell in 21 of 25 large centres in the 12 months to January. The fastest declines were in Fort St. John, Williams Lake, Prince Rupert and Prince George. In Victoria, the number of beneficiaries declined year over year for the 10th consecutive month, down 370 to 4,400. In Vancouver, those receiving benefits fell by 3,800 to 34,800, the eighth decline in a row.
Faster year-over-year decline for men than women
Between January 2010 and January 2011, the number of male EI regular beneficiaries fell by 79,000 (-13.4%) to 512,500. This was the 11th consecutive month with a year-over-year decline.
For men, the fastest rates of decline occurred among those aged under 25 years (-15.9%) and 25 to 54 (-15.7%). Over the same period, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 3.2% among men aged 55 and over.
The rate of decline was slower among female beneficiaries. The number of women receiving regular benefits decreased by 19,900 (-6.9%) to 267,200. This was the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year declines.
For women aged under 25 years, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 3,400 (-14.9%), while among those aged 25 to 54, it decreased by 18,700 (-8.9%). In contrast, the number of female beneficiaries aged 55 and over rose by 2,200 (+4.1%).
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 February will be released on April 18.
A set of maps, Employment Insurance Statistics Maps, January 2011 (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; email@example.com). To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Kevin Forneris (613-951-8235) or Vincent Ferrao (613-951-4750), Labour Statistics Division.
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