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Employment Insurance, September 2019

Released: 2019-11-21

In September, 445,600 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, down 5,600 (-1.2%) from August. There were notable decreases in five provinces, particularly in Alberta and British Columbia. At the same time, there were more EI beneficiaries in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

On a year-over-year basis, the number of EI recipients in Canada fell by 4,800 (-1.1%), with declines in seven provinces. The largest decreases were in Alberta (-6.3%), Nova Scotia (-5.5%) and Saskatchewan (-5.1%).

Chart 1  Chart 1: Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries down in September
Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries down in September

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 Alberta, 45,900 people received regular EI benefits in September, a decrease of 6.2% from the previous month, continuing a downward trend that started at the beginning of 2019. In September, decreases were widespread across the province, including in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Calgary (-7.0%) and Edmonton (-5.4%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of regular EI beneficiaries in the province was down 6.3%.

There were 40,100 EI recipients in British Columbia in September, down 3.5% from August. Decreases were led by the CMAs of Kelowna (-7.8%) and Vancouver (-5.0%). Fewer beneficiaries were also recorded in the census agglomerations (CAs) (-2.9%), including Kamloops and Prince George. Compared with September 2018, the number of EI beneficiaries in the province increased 3.0%.

In Saskatchewan, 14,800 people received regular EI benefits in September, a decrease of 3.4% from the previous month. This follows a downward trend that started in February 2019. The majority of the decline in September was among beneficiaries who last worked in trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations (-8.1%). Most of the decline in September was in the CMAs of Regina (-8.2%) and Saskatoon (-6.1%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of EI recipients in Saskatchewan fell 5.1%.

In September, the number of regular EI beneficiaries in Manitoba decreased 2.0% to 15,000. The decline was driven by those who last worked in sales and service (-5.7%) and in trades, transport and equipment operators and related (-4.0%) occupations. There were decreases in EI beneficiaries in the CAs (-8.6%), most notably in Brandon, and in the CMA of Winnipeg (-2.2%). Compared with September 2018, the number of EI recipients in the province decreased 4.0%.

In Nova Scotia, the number of people receiving regular EI benefits was down 1.2% to 25,700 in September. Decreases in the CMA of Halifax (-4.6%) and CAs (-2.1%), including Cape Breton, were partially offset by increases in the rest of the province. On a year-over-year basis, the number of EI recipients in Nova Scotia was down 5.5%.

There were 111,000 EI recipients in Quebec in September, edging down 0.9% from the previous month. There were declines in the CMAs of Québec (-4.7%) and Sherbrooke (-2.7%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of EI beneficiaries in the province declined 2.6%.

In September, the number of regular EI beneficiaries in Prince Edward Island increased for the third consecutive month, up 1.8% to 7,900. Increases were led by the CA of Summerside (+5.7%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of EI recipients in the province decreased 1.6%.

There were 30,200 EI recipients in New Brunswick in September, up 1.5% from the previous month. The increase was most notable among people aged 15 to 24. Most of the increase occurred in the CAs (+2.6%) and in the areas outside the CMAs and CAs (+1.9%). Compared with September 2018, the number of EI recipients in New Brunswick was up 5.6%.

In Ontario, 119,300 people received regular EI benefits in September, little changed from August, as increases in several CMAs, such as Brantford (+4.7%) and St. Catharines–Niagara (+3.8%), were partially offset by decreases in Windsor (-6.4%) and Oshawa (-4.6%). Compared with September 2018, the number of EI recipients in the province increased 1.9%.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Notable decreases in Employment Insurance beneficiaries in five provinces, particularly Alberta
Notable decreases in Employment Insurance beneficiaries in five provinces, particularly Alberta

EI beneficiaries by occupational group

On a year-over-year basis, the number of EI beneficiaries fell in 6 of the 10 broad occupational groups, led by those who last worked in health (-8.1%) and in sales and service (-4.5%). At the same time, more recipients were recorded among those whose last job was in education, law and social, community and government services (+7.5%) and in natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations (+4.0%).

Chart 3  Chart 3: Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, September 2018 to September 2019
Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, September 2018 to September 2019 

Claims increase in September

In September, there were 241,300 EI claims, up 2.1% from August. 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 any type of EI benefits, which includes special benefits.

The number of claims increased in seven provinces from the previous month, led by Ontario (+5.9%), Saskatchewan (+5.1%) and Manitoba (+4.7%). At the same time, there was a decrease in claims in Quebec (-2.4%).

On a year-over-year basis, the number of claims at the national level was up 1.1%. There were increases in Ontario (+6.0%), British Columbia (+5.2%) and Manitoba (+1.3%). Declines were observed in five provinces, notably Newfoundland and Labrador (-7.3%) and Nova Scotia (-6.7%).

Chart 4  Chart 4: Employment Insurance claims up in September
Employment Insurance claims up in September





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 Statistics are 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 all types 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 regular EI benefits from September 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 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 2016 – definitions for more information.

Next release

Data on EI for October will be released on December 18.

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 Nicolas Franchi (613-294-9706; nicolas.franchi@canada.ca), Centre for Labour Market Information.

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