Employment Insurance

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September 2011 (Previous release)

Following an increase in August, the number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits fell by 15,400 (-2.7%) to 549,300 in September. The number of beneficiaries has been on a year-long downward trend.

The number of beneficiaries fell in most provinces, with the largest percentage declines in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.

Fewer Employment Insurance beneficiaries in September

Fewer Employment Insurance beneficiaries in September

Chart description: Fewer Employment Insurance beneficiaries in September

Claims down in September

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.

Following an increase in August, the number of initial and renewal claims fell by 27,100 (-10.5%) to 230,700 in September. Claims fell in every province, with the largest percentage declines in Quebec (-19.0%), Saskatchewan (-9.8%), Manitoba (-7.5%) and Ontario (-7.3%).

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 August and September 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 September 11 to 17. 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.

Number of claims down in September

Number of claims down in September

Chart description: Number of claims down in September

Number of beneficiaries declines in most provinces

Most provinces posted a decrease in the number of beneficiaries, with the largest percentage declines occurring in Alberta (-7.3%), Saskatchewan (-4.9%), Manitoba (-3.6%) and Ontario (-3.6%). The declines in these provinces extend an overall downward trend that began a year ago.

In contrast, the number of beneficiaries increased in Newfoundland and Labrador (+3.0%) in September, and edged up in Prince Edward Island (+1.2%).

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

Between September 2010 and September 2011, the number of people receiving regular benefits fell by 105,400 (-20.3%) nationally. Declines occurred in 135 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 17.5%, extending the trend of monthly year-over-year decreases that began in April 2010. In Grand Falls-Windsor, the number of beneficiaries declined 12.5%, while in Corner Brook, the number rose 16.8%.

In Nova Scotia, all five large centres had fewer beneficiaries in September 2011 compared with September 2010. The largest decrease occurred in Halifax, where the number fell 12.3% to 4,400, continuing the downward trend that began in March 2010. Cape Breton also had fewer beneficiaries, down 3.1% to 5,500.

In New Brunswick, three of the six large centres had fewer beneficiaries in the 12 months to September. The fastest declines occurred in Saint John (-16.9%) and Moncton (-15.3%).

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 (-26.8%). There were similar year-over-year decreases in Saint-Hyacinthe and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. In Montréal, the number of beneficiaries fell 23.7% to 42,500, continuing the downward trend that began in March 2010. Granby, Rouyn-Noranda and Sherbrooke also posted marked declines.

In Ontario, 39 of the 41 large centres had fewer beneficiaries compared with 12 months earlier, with marked percentage decreases occurring in Tillsonburg, Guelph and Chatham-Kent. Other large centres with notable percentage declines include Stratford, Greater Sudbury, London and Thunder Bay. In Toronto, the number of beneficiaries fell 26.4% to 52,500. This was the largest percentage decline since March 2010, when the downward year-over-year trend for Toronto began.

In Manitoba, the number of people receiving regular benefits fell in three of the four large centres in the 12 months to September. In Winnipeg, the number of beneficiaries declined by 26.6% to 4,500, the 12th consecutive year-over-year monthly decrease.

In Saskatchewan, all eight large centres recorded year-over-year declines, with the fastest decrease occurring in Moose Jaw. In Regina, the number of beneficiaries fell 37.6% to 680, continuing the trend of monthly year-over-year decreases that started in the summer of 2010. In Saskatoon, the number fell 31.0% to 1,200, the 10th consecutive decline.

All 12 large centres in Alberta had fewer beneficiaries in September 2011, compared with September 2010. The largest declines were in Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge and Red Deer. The number of beneficiaries fell 39.9% to 7,400 in Calgary and 38.7% to 7,200 in Edmonton.

In British Columbia, the number of beneficiaries fell in all 25 large centres, with the fastest declines in Kamloops, Powell River and Vancouver. In Vancouver, the number of people receiving benefits fell 33.2% to 19,400, while in Victoria, it decreased by 23.8% to 2,400.

Demographic groups

The number of men receiving regular benefits fell 22.4% to 227,800 between September 2010 and September 2011. During this period, the pace of decline for men under 25 and those aged 25 to 54 was similar, at 24.0% and 23.8%, respectively. Among men aged 55 and over, the number of beneficiaries fell 17.3% in the 12 months to September, the largest year-over-year decline for this group in one year and a half.

The number of women receiving benefits in September totalled 184,900, down 17.6% from September 2010. The number of beneficiaries fell 22.8% among women under 25 and 18.3% among those aged 25 to 54, continuing a downward trend that began over a year ago. For women 55 and over, the year-over-year monthly decline was slower, at 13.1%—the seventh consecutive decline for this group.

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 October will be released on December 16.

A set of maps, Employment Insurance Statistics Maps, September 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, contact Statistics Canada's National Contact Centre (613-951-8116; toll-free 1-800-263-1136; infostats@statcan.gc.ca), Communications Division.

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Lahouaria Yssaad (613-951-0627), Labour Statistics Division.