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Employment Insurance, October 2019

Released: 2019-12-18

In October, 448,100 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, similar to the previous month. At the same time, Labour Force Survey (LFS) estimates from October showed that employment held steady and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.5%.

Small increases in the number of EI beneficiaries in British Columbia (+1.3%), Saskatchewan (+1.3%) and New Brunswick (+1.3%) were offset by declines in Quebec (-1.5%) and Nova Scotia (-1.4%). There was little change in the five other provinces in October.

Nationally, the number of regular EI beneficiaries was little changed compared with October 2018 as year-over-year increases in Ontario (+6.7%), British Columbia (+6.3%) and New Brunswick (+5.3%) mostly offset declines in the other provinces. The largest year-over-year decreases were in Nova Scotia (-8.0%), Alberta (-4.3%) and Quebec (-3.3%).

Chart 1  Chart 1: Little monthly change in regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries in October
Little monthly change in regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries in October

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 British Columbia, the number of EI beneficiaries rose 1.3% to 41,100 in October. It increased the most outside the province's census metropolitan areas (CMAs) and census agglomerations (CAs), up 3.2%. There was also an increase in the number of beneficiaries in the CAs (+1.9%). Compared with October 2018, the number of beneficiaries in the province increased 6.3%, mostly among beneficiaries who last had a job in manufacturing and utilities; and in trades, transport and equipment operations and related occupations.

Following a decrease the previous month, more people received regular EI benefits in Saskatchewan in October, up 1.3% to 15,000, with most of the increase in the CMA of Saskatoon. On a year-over-year basis, the number of recipients fell 2.5%, mostly among those who last worked in trades, transport and equipment operations and related occupations; and in business, finance and administration.

In New Brunswick, 30,800 people received EI benefits in October, up 1.3% from the previous month, continuing an upward trend that began in June 2019. The number of beneficiaries in the month increased mainly outside the province's CMAs and CAs (+1.7%). Compared with October 2018, the number of beneficiaries in New Brunswick rose 5.3%, especially among recipients who last worked in occupations in manufacturing and utilities; in health; and in natural resources, agriculture and related occupations.

While the number of EI recipients was little changed in Ontario at 121,000 in October, it increased in the CMAs of Guelph (+17.4%), London (+7.0%) and Oshawa (+5.5%). Compared with 12 months earlier, there was a 6.7% increase in the number of beneficiaries in the province, with the largest increase among those who last worked in manufacturing and utilities. According to the LFS, Ontario had fewer people employed in the manufacturing and utilities sectors.

In Quebec, the number of regular EI beneficiaries fell 1.5% to 109,200, with the decline mostly among those aged 25 to 54. There were decreases throughout the province, including the CMAs of Saguenay (-3.8%), Québec (-3.0%) and Sherbrooke (-2.4%), and in the province's CAs (-2.1%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of recipients in the province fell 3.3%, with decreases in almost all major occupation groups. The largest year-over-year percentage declines were in art, culture, recreation and sport; and in health occupations.

In Nova Scotia, 25,300 people received EI benefits in October, down 1.4% from September. Halifax (-3.8%) and areas outside the CMA and CAs (-1.7%) had fewer beneficiaries. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of recipients in the province fell 8.0%. There were declines in 9 of the 10 major occupation groups in October. The largest percentage decrease was among beneficiaries who last worked in health occupations.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Regular EI beneficiaries: Notable monthly increases in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick; decreases in Quebec and Nova Scotia
Regular EI beneficiaries: Notable monthly increases in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick; decreases in Quebec and Nova Scotia

EI beneficiaries by occupational group

On a year-over-year basis, the number of EI beneficiaries rose in 4 of the 10 broad occupational groups, with the largest increase among those who last worked in manufacturing and utilities (+18.4%). At the same time, Ontario saw marked increases among assemblers in manufacturing and labourers in processing, manufacturing and utilities.

Nationally, there were declines in the other broad occupation groups, particularly among those whose last job was in art, culture, recreation and sport (-8.0%) and in health occupations (-6.7%).

Chart 3  Chart 3: Largest 12-month increase in EI beneficiaries among those who had worked in manufacturing and utilities
Largest 12-month increase in EI beneficiaries among those who had worked in manufacturing and utilities

Employment Insurance claims stable in October

In October, there were 239,900 claims, essentially unchanged from September. Claims data pertain to initial and renewal claims received for any type of EI benefits, which includes special benefits.

Claims fell in Nova Scotia (-3.2%), Manitoba (-2.9%) and Ontario (-2.5%), while they increased in Alberta (+5.0%) and Saskatchewan (+3.0%).

Compared with October 2018, the number of claims rose by 4.4% at the national level, with the largest increases in British Columbia (+7.9%), Saskatchewan (+7.2%) and Ontario (+6.7%). In contrast, Newfoundland and Labrador (-5.3%), as well as Nova Scotia (-2.5%) had fewer claims.

Chart 4  Chart 4: Employment Insurance claims little changed in October
Employment Insurance claims little changed in October





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 October 13 to 19. 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 November 2019 will be released on January 23, 2020.

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 Vincent Ferrao (613-951-4750; vincent.ferrao@canada.ca), Centre for Labour Market Information.

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