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Employment Insurance, September 2018

Released: 2018-11-22

In September, 446,500 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, down 14,300 (-3.1%) from August.

The number of beneficiaries declined in seven provinces, with the largest percentage declines in Alberta (-8.5%) and British Columbia (-8.3%). There were also decreases in Saskatchewan (-4.9%), Ontario (-2.3%), Quebec (-2.2%), Newfoundland and Labrador (-1.7%) and Manitoba (-1.0%). In turn, the number of beneficiaries increased in Prince Edward Island (+4.4%), while there was little change in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

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 who have exhausted their regular benefits, and those no longer receiving benefits for other reasons.

In particular, some of the declines in beneficiaries coincided with the expiring of a temporary EI measure in effect for claims established from January 2015 to July 2017. The measure offered additional weeks of EI regular benefits in 15 EI economic regions that had experienced a sharp and sustained increase in unemployment. All eligible claimants were entitled to an additional five weeks of EI regular benefits and long-tenured workers were granted up to an additional 20 weeks of benefits. For more information, please visit Additional Employment Insurance regular benefits for unemployed workers in affected regions.

Compared with September 2017, the number of EI recipients in Canada was down by 67,300 (-13.1%).

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

Provincial and sub-provincial overview

In Alberta, there were 46,800 people receiving EI benefits in September, down 8.5% from August. This coincided with the expiring of a temporary EI measure and was the largest percentage decrease in the province since August 2016. The number of beneficiaries fell across the province, notably in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Edmonton (-10.5%) and Calgary (-9.7%). Alberta had the largest year-over-year decrease among the provinces, as the number of recipients declined by 27.1%. According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), the unemployment rate for the province decreased from 7.8% in September 2017 to 7.0% in September, and employment rose by 2.4%.

In British Columbia, the number of people receiving EI benefits fell by 8.3% to 37,700 in September, also coinciding with the phasing out of a temporary EI measure. This was the largest decline in both the number and percentage of recipients in the province since October 2014, and continued the downward trend that began at the end of 2016. Declines in the number of recipients were observed across the province, most notably in the census agglomerations (CAs) of Campbell River (-29.5%) and Prince George (-18.4%). In the 12 months to September, the number of beneficiaries in the province was down by 21.0%, as the unemployment rate decreased by 0.7 percentage points to 4.2%.

In Saskatchewan, the number of EI recipients declined by 4.9% to 15,400, continuing the downward trend that began at the start of 2018. The number of beneficiaries decreased across the province, led by the CMA of Saskatoon (-9.0%). Compared with September 2017, the number of beneficiaries fell by 13.0%.

In September, there were 116,900 people receiving EI benefits in Ontario, a decline of 2.3%. There were fewer recipients in seven CMAs, led by Guelph (-13.8%), Oshawa (-9.4%), Peterborough (-7.0%) and Toronto (-6.2%). At the same time, there were increases in three CMAs, led by Thunder Bay (+7.3%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of EI recipients in Ontario fell by 10.7%.

The number of people in Quebec who received EI benefits in September decreased by 2.2% to 114,000. Most of the declines were in the areas outside of the CMAs and CAs (-2,200 or -5.5%). Decreases were also observed in the CMA of Saguenay (-13.9%) and in the CAs (-4.1%). In contrast, the number of beneficiaries was up in the CMA of Montréal (+1.9%). In the 12 months to September, the number of EI recipients in the province fell by 10.8%, coinciding with a 0.7 percentage point decrease in the unemployment rate to 5.3%.

There were 34,200 people receiving EI benefits in Newfoundland and Labrador in September, down 1.7% from August. This continued the downward trend that began at the start of 2018. There were fewer recipients across the province, notably in the CMA of St. John's (-3.5%). Compared with September 2017, the number of beneficiaries in the province was down by 11.3%. Over the same period, the unemployment rate declined from 15.0% to 13.6%.

In September, the number of EI recipients in Manitoba declined by 1.0% to 15,500. There were fewer beneficiaries in the CMA of Winnipeg (-1.3%) and areas outside of the CMA and CAs (-1.0%). On a year-over-year basis, there was little change in the number of recipients in the province.

In Prince Edward Island, the number of EI recipients rose by 4.4% to 8,000 in September, offsetting a decrease in August. This coincided with the beginning of the school year for students eligible for the province's Training Prince Edward Island - Career Connect program. This program, which began in April 2017, allows Prince Edward Island residents with an active EI claim to continue collecting benefits while enrolled in full-time postsecondary education. Compared with September 2017, the number of beneficiaries in the province was down by 5.1%.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by province, August to September 2018
Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by province, August to September 2018

Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation

Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of EI beneficiaries decreased in all 10 broad occupational groups. Declines were led by those who last held occupations in sales and service (-18.9%) and health (-18.9%), followed by occupations in management (-16.8%), business, finance and administration (-16.6%) and natural and applied sciences (-16.0%).

Chart 3  Chart 3: Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, September 2017 to September 2018
Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, September 2017 to September 2018

Employment Insurance claims

In September, there were 238,400 claims, virtually unchanged from August. The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.

The largest percentage decreases were in Ontario (-2.8%) and Quebec (-2.7%). There were also fewer claims in Newfoundland and Labrador (-2.2%) and British Columbia (-1.2%).

Claims increased in Alberta (+8.4%), Saskatchewan (+6.9%), New Brunswick (+5.3%), Manitoba (+4.3%) and Nova Scotia (+3.4%). There was little change in Prince Edward Island.

Compared with September 2017, the number of claims rose 5.4% at the national level.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Employment Insurance claims
Employment Insurance claims





  Note to readers

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 September 9 to 15. 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 October will be released on December 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 Dylan Saunders (613-762-6972; dylan.saunders@canada.ca) or Client Services (toll free: 1-866-873-8788; statcan.labour-travail.statcan@canada.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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