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Employment Insurance, January 2014

Released: 2014-03-20

In January, 502,500 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, down 1.9% (-9,900) from the previous month. This decline follows a period of relative stability in the number of EI beneficiaries that began in May 2013.

Quebec, British Columbia and Prince Edward Island experienced decreases in the number of people receiving regular EI benefits in January, while there was little or no 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: Fewer regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries in January - Description and data table
Fewer regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries in January

Chart 1: Fewer regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries in January - Description and data table

Provincial and metropolitan area overview

Following little change over the last three months of 2013, the number of beneficiaries in Quebec declined by 4.6% in January. All metropolitan areas in the province posted declines, most notably Sherbrooke (-8.3%), Saguenay (-7.5%) and Trois-Rivières (-7.4%). In Montréal, the number of people receiving regular benefits fell by 4.5% to 50,700, the fourth consecutive monthly decline.

In British Columbia, the number of beneficiaries decreased for the second consecutive month, down 1.7% in January. Abbotsford–Mission saw fewer beneficiaries (-4.4%), marking its third consecutive monthly decline. In Vancouver, 21,800 people received benefits, down 1.6% from the previous month. The number of beneficiaries rose slightly in Kelowna (+1.2%), the third increase in four months.

There were slightly fewer beneficiaries in Prince Edward Island in January (-1.6%), similar to the decline observed the previous month. These recent declines followed increases observed last fall.

Ontario saw a slight decline (-1.1%) in January as five metropolitan areas saw fewer beneficiaries: Windsor (-9.2%), Ottawa (-2.9%), Brantford (-2.6%), St. Catharines–Niagara (-2.5%) and Greater Sudbury (-2.3%). At the same time, there were notable increases in Peterborough (+4.2%) and London (+2.5%).

In Nova Scotia, the number of people receiving benefits fell slightly (-1.0%) in January. However, the number rose by 3.1% in Halifax, the third notable increase in four months.

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 New Brunswick, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 6.7% in Saint John.

In Saskatchewan, the number of beneficiaries increased in Saskatoon (+3.6%) and Regina (+3.0%).

In Alberta, Calgary saw a decrease of 2.6%, the third consecutive decline, while in Edmonton, the number of beneficiaries rose by 2.1% in January, the third consecutive increase.

Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation

There were fewer beneficiaries in seven major occupation groups in January, most notably in occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities (-7.3%). This marked the third consecutive monthly decline for this occupational group.

On a year-over-year basis, there were fewer people receiving benefits in all but one occupational group: natural and applied sciences. The declines ranged from 1.6% in trades, transport and equipment operators to 13.9% in occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, percentage change, January 2013 to January 2014  - Description and data table
Number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, percentage change, January 2013 to January 2014 

Chart 2: Number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, percentage change, January 2013 to January 2014  - Description and data table

Employment Insurance beneficiaries in major demographic groups

In January, there were fewer beneficiaries among men aged 15 to 24 (-5.7%) and among men aged 25 to 54 (-4.5%). At the same time, the number of men aged 55 and over receiving benefits rose slightly (+1.3%).

For women, the number of beneficiaries was virtually unchanged in January for both the 15 to 24 and 25 to 54 age cohorts. However, there was a 1.6% increase in the number of women aged 55 and over receiving benefits.

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 virtually unchanged in January

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

Nationally, the number of initial and renewal claims was virtually unchanged in January at 234,600. Compared with January 2013, the number of claims fell by 1.9%.

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

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

The small overall change nationally did not mirror variations at the provincial level, as Prince Edward Island (+9.4%), Newfoundland and Labrador (+7.4%), Nova Scotia (+4.0%) and New Brunswick (+3.4%) posted notable increases in January. At the same time, there were decreases in British Columbia (-4.4%) and Manitoba (-3.9%). 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 January 12 to 18. 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 February will be released on April 17.

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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