MRO Magazine

Number of employment insurance beneficiaries declines for eighth month in a row

Ottawa, ON -- The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits decreased by 18,100 (-3.0%) in May 2011 to 577,300, Statistics Canada reports. This was the eighth consecutive monthly decline.


Human Resources

July 22, 2011
By MRO Magazine

Ottawa, ON — The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits decreased by 18,100 (-3.0%) in May 2011 to 577,300, Statistics Canada reports. This was the eighth consecutive monthly decline.

There were fewer beneficiaries in most provinces, with the largest percentage declines in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba.

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.

In May, 238,400 initial and renewal claims were received, up slightly (+1.3%) from the previous month. This follows a 4.6% advance in April. With these recent increases, the number of claims received returned to levels observed earlier this year.

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While the number of claims received in May rose slightly at the national level, it increased sharply in Saskatchewan (+23.9%) as well as in Newfoundland and Labrador (+21.7%). There were slower increases in Manitoba (+5.7%) and Quebec (+3.1%). At the same time, there were declines in other provinces, with the most notable percentage decreases in Prince Edward Island (-7.2%) and New Brunswick (-2.3%).

Fewer beneficiaries in most provinces, especially Alberta

 

There were fewer people receiving regular employment insurance benefits in May, with the fastest percentage decline occurring in Alberta. The number of beneficiaries in this province fell by 7.1% to 34,400, extending the downward trend that began in the fall of 2010.

In Ontario, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 3.3% in May to 175,200. This was the eighth consecutive monthly decline. The downward trend also continued in Quebec and Manitoba, as the number of beneficiaries in May decreased by 3.2% in both provinces.

While the downward trend also continued in Newfoundland and Labrador (-2.7%), British Columbia (-2.4%) and Saskatchewan (-2.2%), the percentage decline was slower in May.

Prince Edward Island was the only province with a notable percentage increase in the number of beneficiaries, up 3.5% in May. This follows an increase of 2.3% the previous month. There was little change in May in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

Sub-provincial and demographic overview

Employment Insurance data by sub-provincial region, sex and age are not seasonally adjusted and are therefore compared on a year-over-year basis.

Most large centres show year-over-year declines

Between May 2010 and May 2011, the number of people receiving regular benefits at the national level fell by 109,000 (-16.9%). Declines occurred in 129 of the 143 large centres (see map). Large centres are those with a population of 10,000 or more.

The number of people receiving regular benefits fell in all five large centres of Newfoundland and Labrador, with the fastest pace of decline occurring in St. John’s (-13.2%). This continues the trend of monthly year-over-year decreases that began in April 2010 for St. John’s. In May, there was also a marked percentage decline in Grand Falls-Windsor.

There were fewer beneficiaries between May 2010 and May 2011 in 27 of the 33 large centres in Quebec, with the fastest decline occurring in Saint-Georges. Over the same period, the number of beneficiaries also decreased sharply in the census metropolitan area of Québec, falling by 26.9% to 7,200. At the same time, the percentage decline was slower in Montréal, down 18.2% to 51,900. Other large centres with notable percentage decreases in the number of beneficiaries were Granby, Magog, Sainte-Hyacinthe and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. This contrasts with Amos and Sept-Îles, the only two large centres in the province with notable year-over-year percentage increases. There was little or no change in all other large centres.

In Ontario, nearly all large centres posted year-over-year declines in the number of beneficiaries, with marked percentage decreases in Greater Sudbury, Tillsonburg, Thunder Bay, Elliot Lake, Belleville and Guelph. In Toronto, the number of beneficiaries fell by 22.2% to 64,900. This rate of decrease was slightly higher than the average pace of year-over-year declines observed over the previous 11 months.

In Manitoba, the number of people receiving regular benefits fell or was unchanged in all four large centres. The fastest rate of decline occurred in Winnipeg, down 29.8% to 5,200. This was the largest of nine consecutive monthly year-over-year percentage decreases for Winnipeg.

There were year-over-year declines in the number of beneficiaries for all eight large centres in Saskatchewan. The number of beneficiaries fell by 34.5% to 1,500 in Saskatoon and by 30.4% to 960 in Regina.

In Alberta, all 12 large centres had fewer beneficiaries in May compared with May 2010. The number of people receiving regular benefits in May totalled 10,100 in both Calgary and Edmonton, down 36.2% and 30.0% respectively from 12 months earlier. Other large centres with a year-over-year decline of 30% or more were Brooks, Red Deer, Grande Prairie and Medicine Hat.

The number of people receiving regular benefits decreased in all large centres of British Columbia. The most notable percentage declines occurred in Fort St. John, Prince Rupert, Quesnel, and Kamloops. The number of beneficiaries fell by 25.6% to 26,100 in Vancouver, and by 15.9% to 3,100 in Victoria.

Demographic groups

 

In May, the number of men receiving regular employment insurance benefits fell 18.0% from 12 months earlier to 332,900. For women, the rate of decline over the same period was slightly slower (-15.1%), with 203,400 women receiving benefits. These decreases extend the year-over-year downward trend that began in March 2010 for men and June 2010 for women.

Among men, the fastest pace of decline occurred for those aged 25 to 54 (-20.1%) and youths under 25 (-19.1%). For men 55 and over, the decrease was about half as fast as that of their younger cohorts (-10.1%).

Among women, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 20.2% for youths under 25, and by 16.3% for women aged 25 to 54. The number of women aged 55 and over who received benefits fell 8.5%.