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Employment Insurance, October 2018

Released: 2018-12-18

The number of regular Employment Insurance (EI) beneficiaries fell for a third consecutive month, down 6,500 or 1.5% from September to 439,600 in October.

Decreases were observed in Ontario (-3.7%), British Columbia (-2.4%), Newfoundland and Labrador (-1.7%), Saskatchewan (-1.6%), Alberta (-1.1%) and Quebec (-1.0%).

New Brunswick (+2.7%) was the only province to see a rise in the number of people receiving EI benefits, while there was little change in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Manitoba.

Compared with October 2017, the number of EI recipients in Canada declined by 70,700 (-13.8%).

In general, variations in the number of beneficiaries can reflect changes in the circumstances 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.

In particular, some of the declines in beneficiaries in October coincided with the expiring of a temporary EI measure that has been in effect for claims submitted from January 2015 to July 2017. This 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.

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

Provincial and sub-provincial overview

In Ontario, the number of people receiving EI benefits declined for a second consecutive month, down 3.7% from September to 111,400 in October. Declines were widespread across the province. On a year-over-year basis, the number of EI recipients fell by 16.6%. Compared with October 2017, employment was up 1.2% in the province according to the Labour Force Survey (LFS).

In British Columbia, the number of EI beneficiaries in October fell 2.4% to 36,700. Declines were recorded across the province, notably in the census metropolitans areas (CMAs) of Kelowna (-5.0%) and Vancouver (-3.3%). Compared with October 2017, the number of recipients was down by 21.5%. From October 2017 to October 2018, employment in the province rose 2.0% according to the LFS.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, 33,500 people received EI benefits in October, down 1.7% from September. This continued a downward trend that began at the start of 2018. According to the LFS, the unemployment rate fell by 1.1 percentage points from September to 12.7%. Declines were observed in the CMA of St. John's (-2.4%) and in areas outside of the CMAs and census agglomerations (CAs) (-1.8%). In the 12 months to October, the number of EI beneficiaries fell by 12.4% in the province.

The number of EI beneficiaries in Saskatchewan decreased by 1.6% in October to 15,100. This decline continued a downward trend that started at the beginning of the year. About half of the decrease was in areas outside of the CMAs and CAs (-1.7%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of EI recipients declined by 13.9%.

In October, the number of EI recipients in Alberta edged down 1.1% to 47,200. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of beneficiaries was down by 24.2%, the largest year-over-year decrease among the provinces. On a year-over-year basis, employment increased 1.8% in Alberta, according to the LFS.

The number of EI beneficiaries in Quebec fell for a third consecutive month, down 1.0% from September to 112,700. The CMA of Montréal (-2.4%) was largely responsible for the decline. In the 12 months to October, the number of EI beneficiaries in the province fell by 9.9%.

Following little change in the previous two months, the number of people in New Brunswick who received EI benefits increased by 2.7% to 28,800 in October. The rise was largely due to those who last worked in trades, transport, and equipment operator occupations. Increases were recorded across the province, led by the CMA of Moncton (+3.2%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of EI beneficiaries decreased by 10.9% in the province.

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

Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation

Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of EI beneficiaries decreased in all 10 broad occupational groups in October. The largest declines were among those whose last job was in manufacturing and utilities (-28.3%). A year earlier, there was a relative high point in the number of beneficiaries for this occupational group, coinciding with temporary shutdowns in Ontario's automotive industry.

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

Employment Insurance claims

In October, there were 227,600 claims, down 9,200 or 3.9% from September. The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.

The number of claims decreased in every province: Nova Scotia (-7.8%), Saskatchewan (-5.5%), New Brunswick (-5.3%), Alberta (-4.6%), Quebec (-4.4%), Prince Edward Island (-4.2%), Manitoba (-4.1%), British Columbia (-3.7%), Newfoundland and Labrador (-3.1%) and Ontario (-2.4%).

Compared with October 2017, the number of claims fell by 2.7% at the national level.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Employment Insurance claims
Employment Insurance claims





Sustainable Development Goals

On January 1, 2016, the world officially began implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — the United Nations' transformative plan of action that addresses urgent global challenges over the next 15 years. The plan is based on 17 specific sustainable development goals.

Employment Insurance is an example of how Statistics Canada supports the reporting on the Global Goals for Sustainable Development. This release will be used in helping to measure the following goal:

  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 October 7 to 13. This period coincides with the reference week of the LFS. However, claims data are for the entire month.

On December 18, 2018, the data from January 2004 to December 2017 were corrected for the "Compassionate care benefits," "Special benefits" and "All types of income benefits" series.

Geographical definitions

A census metropolitan area (CMA) or a census agglomeration (CA) is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centered 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 November 2018 will be released on January 24, 2019.

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 Bertrand Ouellet-Léveillé (613-864-6641; bertrand.ouellet-leveille@canada.ca) or Client Services (toll free: 1-866-873-8788; statcan.labour-travail.statcan@canada.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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