Employment Insurance, May 2014
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In May, the number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits fell by 12,100 or 2.3%, after a year of little change. The total number of beneficiaries for the month was 504,100.
The majority of provinces saw declines in the number of beneficiaries, most notably Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and Quebec.
The change in the number of regular EI beneficiaries reflects various situations, including people becoming beneficiaries, people going back to work and people no longer receiving regular benefits.
Provincial and metropolitan area overview
The number of beneficiaries in Nova Scotia fell by 4.2% in May, partly offsetting the increase in the previous month. Halifax posted a 4.5% decline in the number of people receiving benefits, following an upward trend that began in the fall of 2013.
In Ontario, the number of beneficiaries fell for the second consecutive month, down 3.5% in May. All 15 metropolitan areas in the province had fewer beneficiaries, with the most notable declines in Peterborough (-12.8%) and Oshawa (-9.5%). The number of beneficiaries in Toronto fell for the second month in a row, down 3.5% to 55,600 in May.
In Prince Edward Island, the number of beneficiaries declined for the sixth consecutive month, down 3.3% in May.
In Quebec, the number of people receiving benefits fell by 2.2% in May, following three consecutive months of increases. Of the six metropolitan areas in the province, four had fewer beneficiaries, with the declines ranging from 1.9% in Trois-Rivières to 4.8% in Sherbrooke. At the same time, the number of beneficiaries was up 3.4% in Saguenay and virtually unchanged in Québec. In Montréal, 56,100 people received benefits in May, down 2.3%, after three consecutive monthly increases.
Smaller declines in the number of beneficiaries were recorded in British Columbia (-1.7%), Alberta (-1.6%), Manitoba (-1.1%) and New Brunswick (-1.0%).
In British Columbia, three of the four metropolitan areas had fewer beneficiaries in May, with Vancouver (-3.0%) posting the largest drop, as it experienced its fifth consecutive monthly decline. In Alberta, only Edmonton (-2.5%) recorded a decline. In Manitoba, Winnipeg saw its number of beneficiaries fall 1.4%. Both metropolitan areas in New Brunswick had fewer beneficiaries (-4.5% in Saint John and -1.7% in Moncton).
The number of beneficiaries in May was virtually unchanged in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as Saskatchewan, but this was not the case in the metropolitan areas within these provinces. In St. John's, the number fell by 5.4% while Saskatoon (-4.4%) and Regina (-4.3%) both recorded declines.
Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation
In the 12 months to May, the number of beneficiaries among all occupation groups was down 2.4%. There were fewer people receiving benefits in 7 of the 10 major occupation groups, with the most notable declines in sales and service (-8.2%) as well as processing, manufacturing and utilities (-7.6%).
At the same time, the number of beneficiaries increased among people whose last occupation was in natural and applied sciences (+3.3%), as well as in trades, transport and equipment operation (+2.1%). For the latter group, the increase in the 12 months to May was largely attributable to those who had worked in construction trades.
Employment Insurance beneficiaries in major demographic groups
In May, there were fewer beneficiaries in each of the three broad age groups, with women aged 15 to 24 seeing the largest decline (-3.4%), marking the second consecutive monthly decrease for women in this age group.
On a year-over-year basis, the number of women aged 15 to 24 and 25 to 54 receiving benefits continued to fall faster than men in the same age groups. In comparison, the number of beneficiaries increased for the fourth consecutive month among men aged 55 and over, up 5.5% from 12 months earlier, while it fell slightly for their female counterparts (-1.5%).
Little change in Employment Insurance claims in May
The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.
Following a decline in April, the number of Employment Insurance claims was little changed at 225,800 in May.
Provincially, Employment Insurance claims fell in New Brunswick (-4.1%), Nova Scotia (-3.2%), Manitoba (-3.1%), Ontario (-2.9%) and Quebec (-1.2%).
At the same time, claims rose by 17.0% in Saskatchewan and 8.7% in Alberta. The increases in both provinces came after notable declines the previous month. Claims also increased in Newfoundland and Labrador (+3.1%) and Prince Edward Island (+1.8%), while there was virtually no change in British Columbia.
Beneficiaries receiving regular income benefits by province and territory, sex and age – Seasonally adjusted
Beneficiaries receiving regular income benefits by census metropolitan area – Seasonally adjusted
Note to readers
Regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits are available to eligible individuals who lose their jobs and who are available for and able to work, but cannot find a job. 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.
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.
All data in this release are seasonally adjusted. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.
EI statistics are produced from administrative data sources provided by Service Canada and Employment and Social 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 EI beneficiaries and the number of claims received for the current and previous month are subject to revision.
The number of beneficiaries is a measure of all people who received EI benefits from May 11 to 17. This period coincides with the reference week of the Labour Force Survey (LFS). However, initial and renewal claims data are for the entire month.
EI statistics indicate the number of people who received EI benefits, and should not be confused with LFS data, which provide information on the total number of unemployed people.
Data tables are also now available online. From the Browse by key resource module of our website under Summary tables, choose Subject, then Labour.
Data on Employment Insurance for June will be released on August 21.
For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; email@example.com).
To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Lahouaria Yssaad (613-951-0627; firstname.lastname@example.org), Labour Statistics Division.