Ottawa - In January 2013, the number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits fell for the third consecutive month, down 8,500 (-1.6%) to 531,100, according to Statistics Canada. Compared with January 2012, the number of beneficiaries was down 8.8%.
Most provinces had fewer beneficiaries in January, with the largest percentage decreases occurring in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Alberta and Manitoba.
The number of regular beneficiaries declined slightly in Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Ontario, while there was no change in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.
This month marks the first time seasonally adjusted data on beneficiaries are available for census metropolitan areas (CMAs). This will allow for month-to-month analysis at a more detailed geographic level.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of people receiving regular benefits fell for the second consecutive month, down 5.3% in January. In the CMA of St. John's, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 3.0% compared with the previous month, continuing a series of declines that began in the spring of 2011.
In New Brunswick, the number of people receiving benefits fell 2.7% in January, the third monthly decrease in a row. In Moncton, the number declined 7.0%, the third consecutive monthly decrease, and the largest decline in January among all CMAs in the country. In Saint John, however, the number of people receiving benefits increased for the fifth consecutive month, up 1.0% in January.
The number of regular beneficiaries in Alberta fell by 2.5%, the second consecutive monthly decrease. In Calgary, the number of people receiving benefits declined by 2.0% from the previous month, and in Edmonton it decreased by 1.9%. Compared with 12 months earlier, Edmonton (-16.0%) posted one of the fastest rates of decline among all CMAs. The rate of decline recorded in Calgary was 2.5% over the same period.
In Manitoba, the number of people receiving regular benefits fell for the third month in a row, down 2.3% in January. In Winnipeg, the number of beneficiaries was little changed from the previous month.
Following declines in the two previous months, the number of beneficiaries in Quebec edged down 1.5% in January. Among the province's six CMAs, three saw declines from the previous month: Gatineau (-3.5%), Montréal (-2.9%) and Trois-Rivières (-1.1%), while there was an increase in Saguenay (+1.3%), and little change in Sherbrooke and Québec.
In Ontario, the number of beneficiaries edged down by 1.1% in January, following similar decreases in the previous two months. There were declines in 9 of the 15 CMAs in the province, with a rate of decrease ranging from 1.3% in Toronto to 6.5% in Guelph. Among the 5 CMAs with more beneficiaries in January than the previous month, increases ranged from 1.0% in Hamilton to 4.3% in Windsor. Brantford was the lone CMA with no change.
Number of EI beneficiaries declines in most occupations
This release, also for the first time, includes an analysis of the number of beneficiaries by occupation, as data on this variable are now available.
Most major occupation groups posted declines in the number of people receiving regular benefits in January compared with the previous month. Occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities posted the largest percentage decrease (-3.1%) and the third consecutive monthly decline. They were followed by occupations in social science, education, government service and religion (-2.8%), which also recorded their third consecutive monthly decline.
In January, three occupation groups saw little change in the number of beneficiaries: primary industries; art, culture, recreation and sports; as well as natural and applied sciences. In the latter group, the number of beneficiaries had been increasing slightly since July 2012. It is the only occupation group that had showed an upward trend over that period.
Compared with January 2012, the number of beneficiaries fell in virtually all major occupational groups. The largest decline occurred in occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities (-15.2%). The only occupation group that showed little change in the number of beneficiaries was art, culture, recreation and sports.
EI beneficiaries in major demographic groups
Starting with this release, month-to-month analysis for major demographic groups is provided, using seasonally adjusted data that are now available.
The number of EI regular beneficiaries in January fell for the third consecutive month in most age groups. The fastest decline occurred among young people aged 15 to 24 (-2.7%), followed by those aged 25 to 54 (-2.0%). At the same time, the number of beneficiaries was little changed among people 55 and over.
On a year-over-year basis, the fastest decline occurred among young men aged 15 to 24 (-13.9%) and young women in the same age group (-12.1%), while the slowest decline was recorded among men aged 55 and over (-3.2%) and women in the same age group (-2.2%).
Claims increase in January
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.
The number of initial and renewal claims rose by 8,700 (+3.8%) to 238,500 in January. Quebec (+6.6%) showed the largest percentage increase in claims, followed by Ontario (+5.2%) and New Brunswick (+5.2%). British Columbia (+1.7%) also saw the number of claims rise from the previous month.
At the same time, claims fell slightly in Saskatchewan (-1.4%) and Nova Scotia (-1.2%), while there was little change in the other provinces.