Employment Insurance

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June 2011 (Previous release)

The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits was little changed in June at 577,400, following eight consecutive months of declines.

The number of beneficiaries was down in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, while Newfoundland and Labrador recorded the only notable increase.

 Little change in the number of Employment Insurance beneficiaries in June

Chart description: Little change in the number of Employment Insurance beneficiaries in June

Number of claims edges down in June

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.

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 characteristics of 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 administrative data sources provided by Service Canada and 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 May and June 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 June 12 to 18. 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 is 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.

Following two months of small increases, the number of initial and renewal claims edged down 1.6% in June to 233,100.

The largest percentage decrease occurred in Newfoundland and Labrador (-24.4%), which offset a similar increase in May. In Saskatchewan, the number of claims declined 14.0%, partially offsetting May's increase.

At the same time, there were increases in Prince Edward Island (+6.7%) and Alberta (+5.2%).

Number of claims edges down in June

Chart description: Number of claims edges down in June

Fewer beneficiaries in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia

Provincially, the largest percentage decline in the number of people receiving regular EI benefits occurred in Ontario, where it fell by 2.7% to 169,500. This continued the downward trend that began in October 2010.

The downward trend also continued in Quebec (-1.9%) and British Columbia (-1.3%) in June. This was the ninth consecutive monthly decline for both provinces. In Prince Edward Island, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 1.3% after two months of increases.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of beneficiaries increased 4.1%, mostly offsetting the 4.6% decrease in May. In Manitoba, 1.2% more people received regular benefits.

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.

Most large centres show year-over-year declines

Between June 2010 and June 2011, the number of people receiving regular benefits at the national level fell by 105,300 (-18.2%). Declines occurred in 129 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 all five large centres in June. The fastest pace of decline occurred in St. John's (-15.8%), continuing the trend of monthly year-over-year decreases that began in April 2010. There were also marked percentage declines in Corner Brook and Grand Falls-Windsor.

The number of regular beneficiaries fell in 27 of the 33 large centres in Quebec between June 2010 and June 2011. The largest percentage declines occurred in Saint-Georges, La Tuque and in the census metropolitan area (CMA) of Québec. In the Québec CMA, the number of beneficiaries declined 26.9% to 6,600 in June, the second consecutive month of year-over-year declines. At the same time, Montréal recorded a 22.1% decrease to 46,600, continuing a series of consecutive months of year-over-year declines that began in March 2010.

In Ontario, nearly all large centres posted year-over-year declines in beneficiaries, with the largest percentage decrease occurring in Greater Sudbury. In Toronto, the number of beneficiaries fell 24.0% to 60,800, the fastest pace of year-over-year declines since the downward trend began in March 2010. Other notable decreases occurred in Tillsonburg, Thunder Bay, Guelph, Chatham-Kent and Belleville.

In Manitoba, the number of people receiving regular benefits fell in three of the four large centres in the 12 months to June. Most of the change occurred in Winnipeg, down 27.9% to 4,800 and the 10th consecutive monthly year-over-year percentage decrease.

In Saskatchewan, there were year-over-year declines in all eight large centres. The largest percentage decline occurred in Saskatoon, down 33.2% to 1,400. In Regina, it fell 29.1% to 900, continuing the trend of monthly year-over-year declines which started in July 2010.

In Alberta, all 12 large centres recorded fewer beneficiaries compared with June 2010. In Calgary, the number fell 33.5% to 9,700. In Edmonton, it declined 30.6% to 9,400, the largest percentage decrease since the downward trend began in April 2010. Year-over-year declines exceeded 35% in Camrose, Brooks, Medicine Hat, Grande Prairie and Red Deer.

In British Columbia, the number of beneficiaries fell in all 25 large centres in the 12 months to June. The largest percentage declines were in Fort St. John, Campbell River, Kamloops, Vancouver and Prince George. In Vancouver, the number of people receiving benefits fell 28.3% to 24,400, the fastest pace since the start of the downward trend in June 2010. In Victoria, the number of beneficiaries decreased 13.6% to 2,900.

Demographic groups

In June, the number of men receiving regular benefits fell by 19.6% to 279,600 from 12 months earlier.

The largest rates of decline among men occurred for those aged 25 to 54 (-21.7%) and youths under 25 (-20.1%). Among men aged 55 and over, the number of beneficiaries fell 12.5%.

During this year-long period, the number of women receiving regular benefits decreased 16.0% to 194,400.

The largest rates of decline occurred among women under 25 (-20.9%), followed by those aged 25 to 54 (-17.2%). The number of female beneficiaries aged 55 and over decreased 9.7%. For this latter age group, it was the largest of four consecutive monthly year-over-year declines.

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 July will be released on September 22.

A set of maps, Employment Insurance Statistics Maps, June 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; labour@statcan.gc.ca). To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Kevin Forneris (613-951-8235), Labour Statistics Division.