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Employment Insurance, November 2015

Released: 2016-01-21

In November, 544,200 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, up slightly from October (+3,200 or +0.6%).

Provincially, the number of beneficiaries increased in Saskatchewan (+4.6%), Alberta (+2.7%) and Manitoba (+1.9%), continuing an upward trend that has been seen in these provinces since the autumn of 2014.

In addition, there were slightly more beneficiaries in Quebec and Nova Scotia. On the other hand, there were slightly fewer beneficiaries in New Brunswick and British Columbia. The remaining provinces had little change.

On a year-over-year basis, the total number of EI beneficiaries was up 45,800 or 9.2%, the largest increase since February 2010. About two-thirds of this increase was in Alberta. Despite the large year-over-year increase, the number of beneficiaries in Canada has levelled off in recent months.

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

Chart 1  Chart 1: Number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries
Number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries

Provincial and sub-provincial overview

In Saskatchewan, 14,900 people received EI benefits in November, up 4.6% from October and 35.2% higher than 12 months earlier. Compared with October, the number of beneficiaries rose both in Saskatoon (+5.6%) and Regina (+4.4%). Increases were also recorded elsewhere in the province.

The number of beneficiaries in Alberta totalled 61,300 in November, up 2.7% from the previous month and more than double the 30,300 beneficiaries reported 12 months earlier. Both Edmonton (+4.7%) and Calgary (+3.3%) saw the number of beneficiaries rise in November, as did most of the census agglomerations.

The monthly increases for Alberta came mainly from beneficiaries who had last worked in business, finance and administrative occupations (+5.5%), natural and applied sciences (+3.1%), management occupations (+3.0%), primary industry occupations (+3.0%) and trades, transport or equipment operation (+1.9%). On a year-over-year basis, the number of beneficiaries whose last job was in natural and applied sciences nearly tripled. Increases of similar magnitude were also recorded for those whose last job was in processing, manufacturing and utilities, and in primary industry.

There were also more beneficiaries in Manitoba (+1.9%) in November. In Winnipeg, the number of EI recipients rose by 1.8%, and increases were also recorded in other areas of the province.

The number of beneficiaries rose slightly in Quebec (+1.4%). Three of the six metropolitan areas in the province recorded increases: Gatineau (+1.8%), Trois-Rivières (+1.4%) and Québec (+1.2%). There was little change in the other metropolitan areas, while increases were also recorded in most census agglomerations and the remainder of the province.

Nova Scotia also saw a small increase in EI recipients (+1.2%). In Halifax, the number of beneficiaries rose by 2.1% and in Cape Breton, it was up 2.4%.

On the other hand, the number of EI recipients was down slightly in New Brunswick (-1.2%), with decreases in much of the province, including Saint John, where the number of beneficiaries fell by 5.2%.

British Columbia also saw a slight decline in the number of beneficiaries (-1.0%). Three of the four metropolitan areas in the province recorded declines: Abbotsford–Mission (-6.2%), Victoria (-2.0%) and Vancouver (-1.1%). The number of beneficiaries in Kelowna was up 1.4%.

While the number of EI beneficiaries was little changed in Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Prince Edward Island, this was not the case for areas within these provinces.

In Ontario, 8 of the 15 metropolitan areas recorded declines, ranging from 1.1% in Brantford to 2.2% in Thunder Bay. In Toronto, the number of beneficiaries fell for the fourth consecutive month, down 2.0% to 53,800. At the same time, there were increases of 2.1% in Greater Sudbury and 1.7% in Guelph.

For Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of beneficiaries rose 3.1% in St. John's. In Prince Edward Island, increases in Charlottetown (+5.9%) and Summerside (+3.2%) were offset by declines in the other areas.

Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation

Looking at the occupation of the last job of EI beneficiaries, two major occupation groups continued to display notable increases in the number of beneficiaries on a year-over-year basis: natural and applied sciences (+17.7%) and trades and transport or equipment operation (+16.1%). Virtually all of the national increase in natural and applied sciences and nearly half of the increase in trades and transport or equipment operation was accounted for by Alberta.

There were also more beneficiaries in most of the other occupation groups, with the increases ranging from 1.5% in processing, manufacturing and utilities to 12.4% in social sciences, education, government services and religion. In the latter group, the increase came mainly from Ontario and Quebec. On the other hand, the number of beneficiaries was down slightly in health occupations and little changed in art, culture, recreation and sport.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, percentage change, November 2014 to November 2015
Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation, percentage change, November 2014 to November 2015

Employment Insurance beneficiaries in major demographic groups

No major demographic group showed any notable change in November compared with October. Over the previous 12 months, however, the number of beneficiaries among men and women aged 55 and older has continued to trend up.

Employment Insurance claims

Employment Insurance claims totalled 239,200 in November, virtually unchanged from October. Compared with 12 months earlier, EI claims were up slightly (+2,100 or +0.9%). The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.

EI claims rose in Saskatchewan (+6.4%), Prince Edward Island (+3.5%) and Alberta (+1.7%), and fell in Newfoundland and Labrador (-3.2%), Manitoba (-3.2%), British Columbia (-2.0%) and New Brunswick (-1.9%). There was little change in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Employment Insurance claims
Employment Insurance claims





  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 Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

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 November 8 to 14. This period coincides with the reference week of the Labour Force Survey (LFS). However, initial and renewal claims data are for the entire month.

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.

Geographical definitions

A census metropolitan area (CMA) or a census agglomeration (CA) is formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a population centre. A CMA, also referred to as a 'metropolitan area' in this release, must have a total population of at least 100,000. A CA must have a population of at least 10,000. See Standard Geographical Classification 2011 – Definitions for more information.

Next release

Data on EI for December 2015 will be released on February 18, 2016.

Products

More information about the concepts and use of Employment Insurance statistics is available online in the Guide to Employment Insurance Statistics (Catalogue number73-506-G), from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

Contact information

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

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

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