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Employment Insurance, December 2013

Released: 2014-02-20

In December, 514,200 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits—little changed from November. The number of beneficiaries has been relatively stable since May 2013, following a long-term downward trend that began in the summer of 2009.

Saskatchewan and Alberta posted an increase in the number of people receiving regular EI benefits in December, while there were fewer beneficiaries in New Brunswick. There was little change in the other 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: Number of Employment Insurance beneficiaries relatively stable since May 2013 - Description and data table
Number of Employment Insurance beneficiaries relatively stable since May 2013

Chart 1: Number of Employment Insurance beneficiaries relatively stable since May 2013 - Description and data table

Provincial and metropolitan area overview

The number of people receiving regular EI benefits in Saskatchewan rose by 1.9% in December—the first increase in eight months. Both metropolitan areas in the province had more beneficiaries in December (+4.8% in Regina and +3.3% in Saskatoon).

In Alberta, there were slightly more people receiving benefits in December (+1.4%). The number of beneficiaries in the province has remained relatively stable since the summer of 2012. Edmonton saw the number of beneficiaries increase by 3.6% in December, while there was little change in Calgary.

In New Brunswick, the number of regular EI beneficiaries was down slightly (-1.4%) in December, bringing it back to the level observed in July. The number of beneficiaries in the province had been trending down from the fall of 2012 to the summer of 2013. In December, there were slightly fewer beneficiaries in Saint John, while there was little change in Moncton.

The number of beneficiaries was little changed in the other provinces, but this was not the case in some metropolitan areas within these provinces.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of beneficiaries in St. John's increased for the second month in a row, up 3.5% in December.

In Quebec, declines were recorded in Sherbrooke and Trois-Rivières, while there was a small increase in Saguenay.

In December, seven metropolitan areas in Ontario had more regular EI beneficiaries, most notably Peterborough (+7.7%). At the same time, four metropolitan areas had fewer beneficiaries, with the largest decline in London (-2.5%).

In British Columbia, Abbotsford–Mission and Victoria experienced a slight decline in the number of beneficiaries, while Kelowna posted a small increase.

Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation

The number of beneficiaries fell in four major occupation groups from November to December, most notably in occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities (-3.2%). At the same time, the number of beneficiaries increased 2.8% in trades, transport and equipment operation and rose slightly in health occupations (+1.2%), while there was little change in the other major occupation groups.

On a year-over-year basis, there were fewer people receiving benefits in all but two occupation groups, with the declines ranging from 1.7% in management to 10.7% in sales and service. However, the number of beneficiaries was little changed in trades, transport and equipment operation, as well as in natural and applied science occupations.

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

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

Employment Insurance beneficiaries in major demographic groups

For the third consecutive month, there was an increase in the number of men aged 55 and over receiving regular EI benefits, up 2.4% in December. At the same time, the number of beneficiaries was little changed among all other demographic groups.

On a year-over-year basis, the number of people receiving benefits continued to fall at a faster rate among women than men in all age groups.

Employment Insurance claims increase for the second month in a row

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

Nationally, the number of initial and renewal claims rose for the second consecutive month in December, up 3.3% to 233,300. Compared with December 2012, the number of claims increased by 2.0%, following four consecutive year-over-year monthly declines.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Employment Insurance claims increase for the second consecutive month in December - Description and data table
Employment Insurance claims increase for the second consecutive month in December

Chart 3: Employment Insurance claims increase for the second consecutive month in December - Description and data table

Provincially, from November to December, the number of claims increased by 8.9% in Ontario, 7.3% in British Columbia and 6.1% in Saskatchewan. In Alberta, claims rose slightly (+1.3%). In contrast, claims fell in Newfoundland and Labrador (-7.5%), Nova Scotia (-5.5%) and Prince Edward Island (-5.1%). The December declines in Newfoundland and Labrador as well as Nova Scotia offset increases observed in November. In December, there was little or no change in the number of claims in the other provinces.




  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.

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 December 8 to 14. 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 January will be released on March 20.

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 Vincent Ferrao (613-951-4750; vincent.ferrao@statcan.gc.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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