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Employment Insurance, January 2016

Released: 2016-03-24

In January, the number of Canadians receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits totalled 543,100, virtually unchanged from the previous month. Seven provinces, however, saw an increase in the number of EI beneficiaries.

The largest increases were recorded in New Brunswick (+4.2%), Newfoundland and Labrador (+3.2%), Saskatchewan (+2.4%) and Alberta (+2.0%). On the other hand, there were fewer people receiving EI benefits in Quebec (-2.0%) and British Columbia (-1.2%).

In the 12 months to January, the total number of EI beneficiaries increased by 35,900 or 7.1%, largely as a result of increases in Alberta.

Despite the year-over-year increase, the number of beneficiaries in Canada has levelled out since the summer of 2015.

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 New Brunswick, 33,200 people received EI benefits in January, up 4.2% from December. Both Saint John (+6.1%) and Moncton (+3.1%) had more EI beneficiaries. Most of the increase in the province was from areas outside of census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations.

The number of beneficiaries in Newfoundland and Labrador totalled 35,100 in January, up 3.2% from December. Most of the increase came from areas outside of St. John's and the census agglomerations. The number of beneficiaries in Newfoundland and Labrador has been on an upward trend since the summer of 2015.

In January, 16,000 people received regular benefits in Saskatchewan, up 2.4% from December. Saskatoon (+2.6%) and Regina (+1.0%) both recorded increases. On a year-over-year basis, the number of people receiving EI benefits in the province was up by 40.9%.

Alberta had more people receiving EI benefits in January, up 2.0% to 63,800. There were increases in Edmonton (+2.4%) and Calgary (+1.7%), as well as in most census agglomerations. Compared with January 2015, the number of beneficiaries in Alberta was up by 91.0%.

In Prince Edward Island, the number of EI recipients was up 1.8% to 7,800. There were more people receiving EI benefits in Summerside and Charlottetown, as well as in the rest of the province.

Nova Scotia had a 1.4% increase in EI beneficiaries in January. There were more beneficiaries throughout the province, with the exception of Halifax, where there was little change.

Manitoba had 15,500 people receiving EI benefits in January, up 1.3%. While there was little change in Winnipeg, the number of beneficiaries was up in the rest of the province.

The number of EI beneficiaries declined by 2.0% in Quebec to 143,600. The largest decreases were in Saguenay (-7.8%), Trois-Rivières (-5.4%), Québec (-2.5%) and Montréal (-2.2%).

British Columbia (-1.2%) had fewer EI recipients in January compared with December. The decline was mainly in Abbotsford–Mission (-4.9%) and Vancouver (-1.9%). There was little change in the rest of the province.

While the number of EI beneficiaries was little changed in Ontario, this was not the case for certain areas within the province. There were decreases in 9 of 15 metropolitan areas, with the largest declines in Thunder Bay (-7.7%) and Windsor (-7.6%). On the other hand, there were more EI recipients in Oshawa (+3.6%), Greater Sudbury (+2.3%) and Barrie (+1.7%).

Employment Insurance beneficiaries in major demographic groups

There was little change in the number of EI beneficiaries for the major demographic groups from December 2015 to January 2016. Compared with 12 months earlier, however, the number of beneficiaries increased among all groups, especially among men aged 15 to 24 (+11.8%) and men aged 25 to 54 (+11.0%).

Employment Insurance claims

Employment insurance claims totalled 250,000 in January, virtually unchanged from the previous month. The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.

Notable increases were recorded in Nova Scotia (+4.1%) and Alberta (+3.7%). There were also more EI claims in British Columbia (+2.5%), Manitoba (+1.7%) and Quebec (+1.4%).

On the other hand, there were fewer EI claims in Ontario (-3.9%), Newfoundland and Labrador (-3.7%) and Saskatchewan (-1.0%). At the same time, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick had little change in the number of claims.

Compared with 12 months earlier, employment insurance claims were up 6.1%.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Employment Insurance claims
Employment Insurance claims




  Availability of data by occupation

Beginning with this release, information on Employment Insurance (EI) beneficiaries by occupation will not be available until such time as the completion of the reclassification of the administrative files to the 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) from the 2006 National Occupational Classification for Statistics (NOC-S).

As a consequence, the table "Beneficiaries receiving regular income benefits by occupation" is not available in The Daily. In addition, CANSIM tables 276-0040 and 276-0041 cannot be updated and will be replaced by new CANSIM tables once the reclassification is completed.

Revision

With this release, given the temporary unavailability of the occupational series, seasonally adjusted models and data have been revised back to November 2015. Complete revisions will be performed once the reclassification of the occupational series is finalized.

Note to readers

Regular 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 January 10 to 16. 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 February will be released on April 21.

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 Gordon Song (613-793-2392; gordon.song@canada.ca), Labour Statistics Division.

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