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Employment Insurance, July 2018

Released: 2018-09-20

In July, 475,700 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, an increase of 11,000 or 2.4% from June. The increase mainly reflected a reduction in the waiting period to receive EI benefits from two weeks to one week, which came into effect January 1, 2017, and disproportionally affected occupations related to education (see note to readers) in July 2017 and July 2018. The reference week for July typically falls two to three weeks after the end of the school year, which varies by individual school board. With the reduced waiting period, there were more beneficiaries from education occupations in the July reference week of both 2017 and 2018 than was the case in previous years.

The number of beneficiaries rose in Manitoba (+18.2%), Quebec (+4.5%), Prince Edward Island (+4.0%), New Brunswick (+2.3%), British Columbia (+2.2%) and Alberta (+2.1%). The number fell slightly in Saskatchewan (-1.3%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (-1.0%), while it was little changed in Nova Scotia and Ontario.

Compared with July 2017, the number of EI recipients in Canada declined by 61,200 (-11.4%). The number has been declining on a year-over-year basis since May 2017.

In general, variations in the number of beneficiaries can reflect changes in the circumstances of a number of different groups, including those becoming beneficiaries, those going back to work, those exhausting their regular benefits, and those no longer receiving benefits for other reasons.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries
Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries

Provincial and sub-provincial overview

In Manitoba, the number of people receiving EI regular benefits increased by 18.2% in July to 17,900. Program changes, such as the reduction in the waiting period, can lead to movements in the seasonally adjusted data. A similar increase was observed in Manitoba in July 2017 (+16.6%), followed by an offsetting decrease in August of that year. The impact of the reduction in the waiting period can vary depending on the particular seasonal pattern in each jurisdiction. Excluding July 2017 and July 2018, the number of beneficiaries in the province has been relatively stable on a year-over-year basis since March 2017.

The number of EI recipients in Quebec rose by 4.5% to 120,300 in July 2018, the third consecutive monthly increase. The increase was driven by those who last worked in trades, transport, and equipment operators, as well as in occupations related to education. There were more beneficiaries in most areas of the province, led by the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Saguenay (+17.2%) and Québec (+11.2%). At the same time, the number of beneficiaries decreased in the CMA of Montréal (-2.4%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of beneficiaries in the province fell by 8.2%.

There were 8,100 people receiving EI benefits in Prince Edward Island, up 4.0% from June. Increases were observed across most of the province and were seen largely among people who last worked in natural resources, agriculture, and related production occupations. In the 12 months to July, the number of beneficiaries was little changed.

In New Brunswick, the number of people receiving EI benefits increased by 2.3% to 28,000, led by occupations related to education. Increases in July were observed in the CMA of Moncton (+7.9%), the census agglomerations (CAs) (+4.8%) and the CMA of Saint John (+3.2%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of beneficiaries fell by 13.4%.

There were 42,600 EI recipients in British Columbia in July, up 2.2% from June, mostly due to those from education-related occupations. Increases were spread across the CMAs, led by Victoria (+14.5%), as well as the CAs (+3.4%). In the 12 months to July, the number of beneficiaries in the province fell by 16.0%.

The number of EI beneficiaries in Alberta increased by 2.1% to 55,400 in July. Increases were mostly among those whose last job was in occupations related to education, as well as trades, transport and equipment operators. Growth in the number of beneficiaries was concentrated in the CMA of Edmonton (+4.3%), while the number was little changed in Calgary. On a year-over-year basis, the number of EI recipients declined by 22.2%.

There were 16,500 people receiving EI regular benefits in Saskatchewan in July, down 1.3% from June. The decrease was led by natural resources, agriculture, and related production occupations. An increase in the CMA of Regina (+4.0%) was more than offset by declines in Saskatoon (-3.1%) and in areas outside the CMAs and CAs (-1.8%). In the 12 months to July, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 11.5%.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of EI recipients fell slightly (-1.0%) to 36,100, continuing a downward trend that began in December 2017. Decreases were observed in the CAs (-3.2%) and in the CMA of St. John's (-2.6%). Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of beneficiaries was down by 9.5%.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by province, June to July 2018
Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by province, June to July 2018

Employment Insurance beneficiaries in major demographic groups

From June to July, the number of beneficiaries increased by 5.3% among women, while it was little changed among men. This was consistent with the widespread increase in beneficiaries from occupations related to education noted above. For women, the number of beneficiaries rose in all major age groups, led by women aged 15 to 24 (+14.8%).

Compared with July 2017, the number of EI recipients decreased in all major demographic groups, led by women aged 25 to 54 (-18.2%).

Employment Insurance claims

There were 243,200 claims in July, up 1.8% from June. The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.

In July, claims rose notably in Newfoundland and Labrador (+9.4%) and in Prince Edward Island (+9.3%). Smaller increases were observed in Quebec (+3.8%), British Columbia (+2.3%), Ontario (+1.6%) and Manitoba (+1.3%). In contrast, claims decreased in New Brunswick (-7.6%), Saskatchewan (-1.8%) and Nova Scotia (-1.7%). The number was unchanged in Alberta.

In the 12 months to July, the number of claims was little changed at the national level.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Employment Insurance claims
Employment Insurance claims





  Note to readers

Occupations related to education

This grouping refers to occupational groups at the two-digit level of the National Occupational Classification, 2016; specifically, "professional occupations in education services", which includes secondary and elementary school teachers and counsellors, and "care providers and educational, legal and public protection support occupations", which includes elementary and secondary school teaching assistants.

Concepts and methodology

The analysis presented here focuses on people who received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits related to job loss. Claims data pertain to initial and renewal claims received for any type of EI benefits, including special benefits.

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.

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.

EI statistics indicate the number of people who received EI benefits, and should not be confused with Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, which provide estimates of 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 was 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.

Numbers in the Daily text are rounded to the nearest hundred.

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 July 15 to 21. This period coincides with the reference week of the LFS. However, claims data are for the entire month.

Geographical definitions

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 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.

Next release

Data on Employment Insurance for August will be released on October 18.

Products

More information about the concepts and use of Employment Insurance statistics is available online in the Guide to Employment Insurance Statistics (Catalogue number73-506-G).

Contact information

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 Martha Patterson (613-299-3942; martha.patterson@canada.ca) or Client Services (toll free: 1-866-873-8788; statcan.labour-travail.statcan@canada.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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