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Employment Insurance, June 2019

Released: 2019-08-22

In June, 442,600 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. This figure is virtually unchanged from the previous month. The number of EI beneficiaries increased in Quebec, while it decreased in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick.

Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of EI beneficiaries in Canada was down 21,300 (-4.6%). This decrease was due almost entirely to declines observed in the fall of 2018. Year-over-year decreases occurred in all provinces, with the exception of New Brunswick and Manitoba, where the number was little changed. According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), employment at the national level increased 2.3% from June 2018 to June 2019, and the unemployment rate fell 0.5 percentage points to 5.5%.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries little changed in recent months
Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries little changed in recent months

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.

Provincial and sub-provincial overview

In Quebec, the number of EI beneficiaries increased for the third consecutive month, rising 1.2% to 109,600 in June. The monthly increase was attributable almost entirely to the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Trois-Rivières (+4.1%), Saguenay (+2.5%), and Montréal (+2.3%). Over the period from April to June 2019, the increases in this province have been entirely among men, and mostly among those whose last job was in trades, transport, equipment operations, and related occupations. Despite these increases, the number of EI recipients in Quebec was down 5.1% in June compared with 12 months earlier.

In June, the number of EI beneficiaries in Alberta declined for the fourth consecutive month, down 2.8% to 47,700. There were decreases in the CMAs of Edmonton (-5.0%) and Calgary (-1.7%), as well as in the census agglomerations (CAs) (-3.3%), most notably Wood Buffalo. Compared with June 2018, the number of EI recipients in Alberta was down 10.9%. Over the same 12-month period, the unemployment rate in the province was unchanged at 6.6% and total employment rose 1.3%, according to the LFS.

In Saskatchewan, the number of EI recipients decreased 1.9% in June to 14,900, continuing a downward trend that began five months earlier. Most of the declines posted in June were in areas outside the CMAs and CAs (-2.8%) and in the CMA of Saskatoon (-2.5%). Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of beneficiaries in Saskatchewan was down 10.8%.

In Nova Scotia, the number of beneficiaries declined 1.6% to 25,100 in June. Decreases were observed across the province, led by areas outside the CMA and CAs (-1.8%). On a year-over year basis, there were 7.9% fewer EI recipients in the province. This decrease was due entirely to the declines recorded since the beginning of 2019.

There were 27,700 people receiving EI benefits in New Brunswick in June, down 1.5% from the previous month. The decline was almost entirely concentrated in areas outside the CMAs and CAs (-2.2%). Despite the decrease posted in June, the number of beneficiaries in the province was virtually unchanged compared with 12 months earlier. According to the LFS, the unemployment rate in the province was also little changed over the same period.

While the number of EI recipients was little changed in Ontario at 118,200 in June, it increased in the CMAs of Greater Sudbury (+7.8%), Windsor (+6.4%), and London (+2.8%), and declined in the CMA of Ottawa–Gatineau (Ontario part) (-1.7%). Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of beneficiaries in the province was down 1.9%.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries up in Quebec, down in Alberta
Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries up in Quebec, down in Alberta

Claims down in June

At the national level, the number of EI claims decreased 1.4% to 227,300 in June. The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries. Claims data pertain to initial and renewal claims received for all types of EI benefits (including special benefits).

An increase in claims in New Brunswick (+6.5%) was more than offset by decreases in Prince Edward Island (-6.0%), Newfoundland and Labrador (-5.0%), Ontario (-3.1%), Saskatchewan (-2.0%) and Quebec (-1.2%). There was little change in the other provinces.

Compared with June 2018, the number of claims at the national level fell 4.1%. Decreases occurred in all provinces with the exception of British Columbia, where claims increased 3.5% on a year-over-year basis.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Employment Insurance claims down in June, moderating the increase in May
Employment Insurance claims down in June, moderating the increase in May





Sustainable Development Goals

On 1 January 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 paid 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 jobs 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 month and the previous month are subject to revision.

The number of beneficiaries is a measure of all people who received EI benefits from June 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 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 2016 – definitions for more information.

Next release

Data on EI for July will be released on September 19.

Products

More information about the concepts and use of Employment Insurance statistics is available 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), Centre for Labour Market Information.

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