Employment Insurance, February 2016
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In February, 548,700 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, up slightly from January (+4,200 or +0.8%).
Provincially, the number of EI beneficiaries increased in Saskatchewan (+3.5%) and Alberta (+2.4%). There were also more EI recipients in Ontario (+1.1%) and Quebec (+1.1%). In contrast, fewer people received benefits in Nova Scotia (-1.7%). There was little change in the remaining provinces.
On a year-over-year basis, the total number of EI beneficiaries in Canada was up 34,700 or 6.7%. Despite this increase, the number of beneficiaries has been relatively stable since the summer of 2015.
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 sub-provincial overview
In February, the number of people receiving EI benefits in Saskatchewan increased for the fourth consecutive month, up 3.5% to 16,700. The number of beneficiaries in the province has been on an upward trend since the beginning of 2015. Both Saskatoon (+5.2%) and Regina (+1.5%) had more EI beneficiaries, as did the rest of the province. On a year-over-year basis, there were 38.6% more EI beneficiaries in Saskatchewan.
In Alberta, there were 65,100 EI beneficiaries in February, a 2.4% increase from the previous month. The number of beneficiaries in the province continued on an upward trend that began at the end of 2014. Both Calgary (+2.5%) and Edmonton (+1.4%) had more EI recipients, as did the rest of the province. In the 12 months to February, the number of people receiving EI benefits increased 78.9%.
Ontario had more people receiving EI benefits in February, up 1.1% to 144,400. There were more beneficiaries in 8 of 15 census metropolitan areas (CMAs), with increases ranging from 1.1% in London to 10.9% in Oshawa. Compared with February 2015, the number of beneficiaries in the province was down 1.2%.
The number of EI recipients in Quebec also increased 1.1%, rising to 145,700. There were more beneficiaries in most CMAs, with the largest increases in Sherbrooke (+6.0%) and Montréal (+1.4%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of people receiving EI benefits in the province decreased 4.6%.
Nova Scotia was the only province with a notable decrease in EI beneficiaries in February, down 1.7% to 27,900. Declines were mainly in areas outside of Halifax and the census agglomerations. Despite this decrease in February, the number of people receiving EI benefits in Nova Scotia has been relatively stable since the summer of 2015. In the 12 months to February, the number of EI recipients in the province was up 1.1%.
While the number of EI beneficiaries was little changed in the other provinces, this was not the case for some of the CMAs within New Brunswick and British Columbia. In New Brunswick, Saint John had an increase of 3.8% in the number of EI beneficiaries. In British Columbia, Abbotsford–Mission (-11.0%) and Vancouver (-2.0%) had fewer EI recipients in February, while Kelowna (+2.5%) had more.
Employment Insurance beneficiaries in major demographic groups
Compared with January, the number of EI beneficiaries among men aged 15 to 24 was up 2.4%. There were also more men aged 25 to 54 years receiving EI benefits, up 1.3%. There was little change in the number of beneficiaries for women in all age groups.
In the 12 months to February, the number of beneficiaries rose in most demographic groups, with the largest increases among men aged 15 to 24 (+11.5%) and men aged 25 to 54 (+10.8%).
Employment Insurance claims
From January to February, the number of employment insurance claims decreased 4.5% to 238,000, the first decline since September 2015. The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.
There were fewer EI claims in seven provinces, with the most notable declines in British Columbia (-10.2%), Nova Scotia (-8.2%) and Ontario (-7.8%). The number of claims also decreased in Manitoba (-5.6%), Newfoundland and Labrador (-5.2%), Saskatchewan (-3.6%) and Prince Edward Island (-1.2%). There was little change in New Brunswick, Quebec and Alberta.
Compared with 12 months earlier, EI claims were down 4.7% at the national level. This decline was the result of fewer claims in Ontario.
Beneficiaries receiving regular income benefits by province and territory, sex and age – Seasonally adjusted
Beneficiaries receiving regular income benefits by census metropolitan category – Seasonally adjusted
Availability of data by occupation
Information on Employment Insurance (EI) beneficiaries by occupation will not be available until the completion of the reclassification of the administrative files to the 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) from the 2006 National Occupational Classification for Statistics (NOC-S).
As a consequence, the table, "Beneficiaries receiving regular income benefits by occupation," is not available in The Daily. In addition, CANSIM tables 276-0040 and 276-0041 cannot be updated and will be replaced by new CANSIM tables once the reclassification is completed.
Note to readers
Regular 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 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 February 14 to 20. 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.
A census metropolitan area (CMA) or a census agglomeration (CA) is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a population centre. A CMA, also referred to as a "metropolitan area" in this release, must have a total population of at least 100,000. A CA must have a population of at least 10,000. See Standard Geographical Classification 2011 – Definitions for more information.
Data on EI for March will be released on May 19.
More information about the concepts and use of Employment Insurance statistics is available online in the Guide to Employment Insurance Statistics (73-506-G), from the Browse by key resource module of our website, under Publications.
For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca).
To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Gordon Song (613-793-2392; email@example.com), Labour Statistics Division.
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