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Employment Insurance, August 2013

Released: 2013-10-24

In August, 511,900 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, up 1.5% (+7,800) from July. Compared with August 2012, the number of beneficiaries fell by 7.8%.

The majority of provinces saw increases in the number of beneficiaries in August compared with July, most notably Alberta, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Quebec.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Slight increase in the number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries in August  - Description and data table
Slight increase in the number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries in August

Chart 1: Slight increase in the number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries in August  - Description and data table

Provincial and metropolitan area overview

The number of regular EI beneficiaries in Alberta rose by 3.6% in August, offsetting a decline that occurred in July. There were also offsetting changes in both Calgary and Edmonton.

British Columbia also had more people receiving regular benefits (+2.2%). It was the province's first increase in almost two years. All four metropolitan areas in the province posted increases, ranging from 1.0% in Victoria to 6.1% in Abbotsford–Mission, where the number of beneficiaries had declined for six months in a row.

The number of regular EI beneficiaries in Nova Scotia rose by 1.7% in August, partly offsetting a decline the previous month. There was little change in Halifax, after a notable decrease in July.

In Quebec, the number of people receiving benefits also rose by 1.7% in August, following a notable decline the previous month. Three metropolitan areas in the province experienced increases, ranging from 3.0% in Sherbrooke to 9.7% in Trois-Rivières. There was little or no change in Québec, Montréal and Gatineau. In Montréal, the number of beneficiaries stood at 51,600 in August, the lowest level since July 2008.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of beneficiaries increased by 1.4%, after a small decline the previous month. The number of people receiving benefits in St. John's was little changed.

The number of beneficiaries in Ontario was up slightly in August (+1.3%), following little change over the past few months. Of the 15 metropolitan areas in the province, 8 saw increases ranging from 1.0% in Ottawa to 4.1% in Thunder Bay, while there was little or no change in the remaining areas. In Toronto, 62,300 people received regular benefits in August, up 1.5% from July.

There were also slightly more beneficiaries in Saskatchewan (+1.0%). Both Regina (+2.3%) and Saskatoon (+1.0%) saw increases in the number of beneficiaries in August, after three consecutive months of declines.

Fewer people received regular benefits in Manitoba in August (-1.3%). In the metropolitan area of Winnipeg, the number of beneficiaries fell 2.3%. This was the fourth consecutive monthly decline for both the province and Winnipeg.

The number of beneficiaries was down slightly in Prince Edward Island (-1.0%), while there was little change overall in New Brunswick.

Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation

In August, there were more beneficiaries in two major occupation groups: trades, transport and equipment operation, up 4.6%, and natural and applied science occupations, up 2.2% and the second increase in three months. By contrast, there was little change in the other occupation groups.

On a year-over-year basis, the number of beneficiaries was down in all major occupation groups, except natural and applied science occupations. The declines ranged from 3.3% in management to 16.3% in health occupations, the group which continues to exhibit the fastest rate of decrease among all occupation groups. At the same time, the number of beneficiaries in natural and applied science occupations was up 9.5% in August, the sixth consecutive month of year-over-year increases for this group.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, percentage change, August 2012 to August 2013  - Description and data table
Number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, percentage change, August 2012 to August 2013 

Chart 2: Number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, percentage change, August 2012 to August 2013  - Description and data table

Employment Insurance beneficiaries in major demographic groups

The number of men receiving regular benefits rose by 2.9% in August, largely offsetting the decline in the previous month. Among women, the number of beneficiaries was little changed, following three months of slight decreases.

On a year-over-year basis, women aged 15 to 24 and 25 to 54 receiving benefits posted the fastest rates of decline (-14.7% and -12.7%, respectively). The corresponding rates of decline for their male counterparts were 7.2% and 6.7% respectively.

In contrast, the number of beneficiaries decreased at a slower pace for women 55 and older (-3.2%) as well as for their male counterparts (-2.1%). For women aged 55 and older, the year-over-year decline in August was the eighth in a row, while for men in the same age group, it was the first decrease in five months.

Notable decline in Employment Insurance claims

The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.

Following an increase in July, the number of initial and renewal claims fell 5.4% to 225,100 in August. Compared with August 2012, claims were down 1.8%.

In August, there were fewer claims in Saskatchewan (-19.7%), offsetting an increase the month before. The number of claims also fell notably in Ontario (-9.3%) and British Columbia (-9.1%). Manitoba experienced a decline of 6.2%, following an increase of similar magnitude in July.

Smaller declines occurred in New Brunswick (-4.7%), Alberta (-4.5%) and Nova Scotia (-2.8%). At the same time, there was little or no change in Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Prince Edward Island.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Employment Insurance claims decline in August  - Description and data table
Employment Insurance claims decline in August

Chart 3: Employment Insurance claims decline in August  - Description and data table



  Note to readers

Regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits are available to eligible individuals who lose their jobs and who are available for and able to work, but can't find a job. To receive EI benefits, individuals must first submit a claim. The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.

The change in the number of regular EI beneficiaries reflects various situations, including people becoming beneficiaries, people going back to work, and people exhausting their regular benefits.

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 is 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 Seasonal adjustment and identifying economic trends.

EI statistics are produced from administrative data sources provided by Service Canada and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. These statistics may, from time to time, be affected by changes to the Employment Insurance Act or administrative procedures. Recent examples are the pilot project entitled "Working While on Claim," introduced on August 5, 2012, and the regulation on search for suitable employment, that came into effect on January 6, 2013.

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 August 11 to 17. This period coincides with the reference week of the Labour Force Survey (LFS).

EI statistics indicate the number of people who received EI benefits, and should not be confused with LFS data, which provide information on the total number of unemployed people.

Data tables are also now available online. From the Browse by key resource module of our website under Summary tables, choose Subject, then Labour.

Data on Employment Insurance for September will be released on November 21.

Contact information

For more information, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca).

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Lahouaria Yssaad (613-951-0627; lahouaria.yssaad@statcan.gc.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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