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Employment Insurance, September 2013

Released: 2013-11-21

Following three months of little change, the number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits decreased slightly in September (-1.4% or -7,100) to 503,800. Compared with September 2012, the number of beneficiaries was down 8.8%.

However, the slight monthly decrease nationally did not mirror variations observed at the provincial level, as British Columbia and Ontario posted notable declines in September, while Saskatchewan and Alberta exhibited smaller declines. At the same time, there were more beneficiaries in Quebec and Manitoba, as well as in the Atlantic provinces.

The change in the number of regular EI beneficiaries reflects various situations, including people becoming beneficiaries, people going back to work, and people who no longer receive regular benefits.

Chart 1  Chart 1: Slightly fewer regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries in September  - Description and data table
Slightly fewer regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries in September

Chart 1: Slightly fewer regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries in September  - Description and data table

Provincial and metropolitan area overview

In British Columbia, the number of regular EI beneficiaries fell by 8.5% in September. All four metropolitan areas in the province posted declines, ranging from 6.6% in Abbotsford–Mission to 12.9% in Vancouver.

The number of beneficiaries in Ontario decreased by 8.3%, and all metropolitan areas in the province saw declines from the previous month. In Toronto, the number of people receiving regular benefits fell 10.0% in September to 55,900.

There were slightly fewer beneficiaries in Saskatchewan (-1.2%) and Alberta (-1.1%). Metropolitan areas in both provinces saw decreases, except Calgary, where the number of beneficiaries increased, partly offsetting a decline the previous month.

In Quebec, the number of people receiving benefits rose by 5.6% in September. All six metropolitan areas in the province showed increases, ranging from 4.1% in Québec to 11.6% in Trois-Rivières. In Montréal, the number of beneficiaries rose by 8.4% to 56,600 in September, similar to the level recorded in December 2012.

More people received regular benefits in Manitoba (+4.0%) in September. In Winnipeg, the number of beneficiaries rose by 4.3%. For both the province and Winnipeg, the increase in September offset a decline the previous month.

In September, all four Atlantic provinces saw increases in the number of beneficiaries, ranging from 1.8% to 3.2%.

Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation

In September, there were fewer beneficiaries in five major occupation groups, most notably social science, education, government service and religion (-4.4%) and sales and service (-3.1%). In contrast, there was a slight increase in art, culture, recreation and sport (+1.3%) and in processing, manufacturing and utilities (+1.3%). There was little change in the remaining occupation groups.

On a year-over-year basis, the number of beneficiaries was down in all occupation groups, except natural and applied science occupations. The declines ranged from 4.0% in management to 17.8% in health occupations, the group where the number of beneficiaries continues to decrease at the fastest pace. At the same time, the number of regular EI beneficiaries in natural and applied science occupations rose by 5.5% in September, the seventh consecutive month of year-over-year increases for this group.

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

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

Employment Insurance beneficiaries in major demographic groups

In September, there were fewer beneficiaries among women of all age groups and among men aged 55 and older. The declines ranged from 1.3% for women aged 25 to 54 to 9.1% for their younger counterparts aged 15 to 24. As for men younger than 55 receiving benefits, there was virtually no change in September, following an increase in August.

On a year-over-year basis, women of all age groups receiving benefits continued to exhibit faster rates of decline than men.

Employment Insurance claims unchanged

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

Following a notable decline in August, the number of initial and renewal claims was essentially unchanged in September, at 225,300. Compared with September 2012, claims were down 3.1%.

Provincially, claims increased by 9.6% in Saskatchewan. There were smaller increases in Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and Alberta.

At the same time, the number of claims fell by 2.9% in Quebec and declined slightly in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. British Columbia was the only province where claims were virtually unchanged.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Employment Insurance claims unchanged in September  - Description and data table
Employment Insurance claims unchanged in September

Chart 3: Employment Insurance claims unchanged in September  - 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.

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 Employment and Social 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 September 15 to 21. 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 October will be released on December 19.

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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