Ottawa – Following a decline in March 2013, the number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in April was virtually unchanged at 521,600, according to Statistics Canada. This follows a steady downward trend over the previous five months. Compared with a year earlier, the number of beneficiaries in April was down 4.7%.
British Columbia and Quebec saw declines in the number of people receiving regular EI benefits, while Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador posted increases. At the same time, there was little or no change in the other provinces.
Highlights on the provinces and metropolitan areas
The number of people receiving regular benefits in British Columbia declined 2.8% in April, continuing a seven-month downward trend. Three of the four metropolitan areas in the province posted declines, with the largest in Abbotsford–Mission (-6.8%). Abbotsford–Mission also had the largest%age decline among all metropolitan areas in the country. Decreases also occurred in Kelowna (-3.5%) and Vancouver (-1.5%). In Victoria, the number of beneficiaries was unchanged, following a decline the previous month.
The number of beneficiaries in Quebec fell for the sixth consecutive month, down 2.0% in April. Four of the six metropolitan areas in the province posted decreases, ranging from 1.3% in Saguenay to 5.0% in Trois-Rivières. There was little change in Montréal and Gatineau.
In Manitoba, the number of people receiving regular benefits increased 5.5% in April, following a five-month downward trend. In Winnipeg, the number of beneficiaries was up 4.2%, after a decline the previous month.
The number of regular EI beneficiaries in Saskatchewan (+4.5%) also increased in April, offsetting a decline the previous month. Both Regina (+4.3%) and Saskatoon (+2.5%) had more beneficiaries compared with March.
There were 2.7% more beneficiaries in Newfoundland and Labrador, following a four-month downward trend. In the metropolitan area of St. John’s, the number of beneficiaries was virtually unchanged, after trending down for eight consecutive months.
The number of beneficiaries in Ontario has been little changed over the past nine months. In Toronto, 62,400 people received benefits in April, unchanged from March.
On a year-over-year basis, most metropolitan areas had fewer beneficiaries, with the declines ranging from 1.1% in Edmonton to 22.6% in Abbotsford–Mission. At the same time, nine metropolitan areas posted increases ranging from 1.0% in Winnipeg to 23.2% in Greater Sudbury. The only metropolitan areas with little or no change were in Ontario (Toronto, Ottawa, Barrie and Hamilton) and in Quebec (Gatineau).
Regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation
Among the 10 major occupation groups, 5 posted declines in the number of beneficiaries in April compared with the previous month. The largest decrease came in natural and applied science occupations (-3.9%), the first decline in nine months. Another notable decline occurred in occupations in social science, education, government service and religion (-3.2%) and those unique to primary industry (-3.2%).
Monthly declines also occurred in health occupations (-2.4%), continuing a six-month downward trend, as well as in occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport (-1.5%), where the number of beneficiaries was down for the second month in a row. At the same time, the number of beneficiaries increased in trades, transport and equipment operator occupations (+1.3%), offsetting a decline the previous month, while there was little change in the other occupation groups.
On a year-over-year basis, most occupation groups posted declines ranging from 2.0% in trades, transport and equipment operators and related occupations, to 13.6% in health occupations. At the same time, occupations in natural and applied science (+8.9%) and those in primary industry (+2.9%) recorded increases.
Employment Insurance beneficiaries in major demographic groups
In April, the number of regular EI beneficiaries fell for the second consecutive month among women aged 15 to 24 (-1.9%) and those aged 55 and over (-1.3%). Among women 25 to 54 and men in all age groups, the number of beneficiaries was little changed from the previous month.
On a year-over-year basis, the number of people receiving benefits fell at almost the same rate among people aged 15 to 24 (-6.5%) and those aged 25 to 54 (-6.1%), while it was unchanged for those 55 and over.
Claims hold steady in April
The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.
Following a notable increase in March, the number of initial and renewal claims was little changed in April at 229,500.
Provincially, claims declined in Ontario (-3.2%), Quebec (-1.6%) and Nova Scotia (-1.3%), while they rose in all the other provinces, except New Brunswick, where they were essentially unchanged.
Claims’ increases in April ranged from 1.6% in Newfoundland and Labrador to 13.5% in Saskatchewan.