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Employment Insurance, February 2014

Released: 2014-04-17

Following a decline in January, the number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits was little changed in February at 506,500. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of beneficiaries was down 4.9%.

Provincially, Quebec and Saskatchewan had more beneficiaries in February, while Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador posted slight declines. 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: Little change in the number of Employment Insurance beneficiaries in February - Description and data table
Little change in the number of Employment Insurance beneficiaries in February

Chart 1: Little change in the number of Employment Insurance beneficiaries in February - Description and data table

Provincial and metropolitan area overview

In Quebec, the number of people receiving regular benefits in February rose by 2.2%, partly offsetting a decline the previous month. Most metropolitan areas in the province posted increases, notably Gatineau (+6.0%), Sherbrooke (+4.4%), and Trois-Rivières (+4.2%). In Montréal, the number of beneficiaries increased by 2.7% to 52,000, following declines over the previous four months.

The number of people receiving benefits in Saskatchewan rose by 1.9% in February, the second increase in three months. In Saskatoon, the number of beneficiaries increased for the fifth consecutive month, up 3.9% in February, while in Regina it was up slightly (+1.4%), following three consecutive increases.

There were slightly fewer beneficiaries in Nova Scotia (-1.4%) and Prince Edward Island (-1.2%) in February, the third consecutive monthly decline in each province. In Halifax, the number was little changed following increases in the previous four months.

In February, the number of beneficiaries in Newfoundland and Labrador edged down 1.1%, with the number falling slightly by 1.3% in St. John's.

The number of people receiving regular EI benefits was little changed in the other provinces, but this was not the case in some metropolitan areas within these provinces.

In Ontario, six metropolitan areas had more regular EI beneficiaries in February, with Windsor (+8.3%) and Thunder Bay (+5.4%) recording the largest increases. At the same time, there were fewer beneficiaries in St. Catharines–Niagara (-1.9%) and there was a slight decline in Hamilton (-1.1%). In Toronto, the number of beneficiaries totalled 59,300—little changed for the fourth consecutive month.

In Alberta, the number of beneficiaries fell by 1.8% in Edmonton, while there was a slight increase of 1.4% in Calgary.

In British Columbia, there was little or no change in the number of beneficiaries in the metropolitan areas, except Victoria, where the number fell slightly by 1.4% in February—the third consecutive monthly decline.

Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation

There was little change in beneficiaries among all major occupation groups in February, except for occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities, which were up 4.7%. The increase for this group partly offset declines over the previous three months.

On a year-over-year basis, there were fewer people receiving benefits in 8 of the 10 major occupational groups. The declines ranged from 1.0% in trades, transport and equipment operators to 11.0% in occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities. In natural and applied sciences, the number of beneficiaries increased slightly by 1.3% while there was little change among beneficiaries in management occupations.

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

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

Employment Insurance beneficiaries in major demographic groups

In February, there were more men aged 25 to 54 (+1.8%) receiving benefits, while there was little or no change for men aged 15 to 24 and those 55 and over. At the same time, the number of women receiving benefits held steady in all major age groups.

On a year-over-year basis, the number of women aged 15 to 24 and 25 to 54 receiving benefits continued to fall at a faster rate than men in the same age groups. Over the same period, the number of male beneficiaries aged 55 and over was little changed, while it declined by 2.4% for women in the same age group.

Fewer Employment Insurance claims in February

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

Nationally, the number of initial and renewal claims fell by 1.9% to 231,000 in February, following increases over the previous three months.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Fewer Employment Insurance claims in February - Description and data table
Fewer Employment Insurance claims in February

Chart 3: Fewer Employment Insurance claims in February - Description and data table

In February, claims decreased in most provinces, including Prince Edward Island (-5.7%), New Brunswick (-4.8%), Ontario (-4.7%), Alberta (-3.8%) and Newfoundland and Labrador (-2.9%). There were also small declines in Nova Scotia (-1.6%) and Saskatchewan (-1.4%).

At the same time, however, Manitoba and British Columbia saw the number of claims increase by 6.8% and 2.1% respectively, while there was no change in Quebec.




  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 cannot 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 February 9 to 15. 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 March will be released on May 22.

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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