Number of Canadians receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits rose by 7,900 in November to 460,000; increases seen in Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario, Prince Edward Island and British Columbia, with little change in the other provinces: Statistics Canada

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OTTAWA , January 19, 2024 (press release) –

There were 460,000 Canadians receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in November, up 7,900 (+1.7%) from October. The increase was primarily observed among core-aged men aged 25 to 54 (+6,000; +3.4%). On a year-over-year basis, the total number of regular EI beneficiaries increased by 53,000 (+13.1%).

Data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) show that the unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points to 5.8% in November, bringing the cumulative increase since April 2023 to 0.8 percentage points.

In general, variations in the number of beneficiaries can reflect changes in the circumstances of different groups, including those becoming beneficiaries, those going back to work, those exhausting their regular benefits, and those no longer receiving benefits for other reasons.

Chart 1: The number of regular Employment Insurance beneficiaries up slightly since July 2023

More core-aged men receive regular Employment Insurance benefits
The number of core-aged men (aged 25 to 54) receiving regular EI benefits increased in six of the last seven months and was up by 6,000 (+3.4%) in November. On a year-over-year basis, the number of core-aged men receiving regular EI benefits rose by 32,000 (+21.3%).

In November, there were also more young men aged 15 to 24 (+500; +1.5%) receiving regular benefits, the second increase in three months. In the 12 months to November 2023, the number of young men receiving regular EI benefits increased by 2,600 (+8.9%).

The number of regular EI beneficiaries increased among women aged 55 and older in November (+700; +1.3%), marking the fourth increase in five months. On a year-over year basis, the number of women in this age group receiving benefits increased by 4,800 (+10.8%).

The number of regular Employment Insurance recipients increases in five provinces
The number of regular EI beneficiaries rose in five provinces in November. Manitoba (+8.3%; +1,300) posted the largest proportional increase, followed by Alberta (+3.8%; +1,800), Ontario (+3.0%; +4,000), Prince Edward Island (+2.8%; +200), and British Columbia (+1.0%; +500). There was little change in the other provinces.

There were more EI recipients in Manitoba in November (+1,300; +8.3%), following a decline in September and a slight increase in October. The increase in November was among core-aged men (aged 25 to 54) (+900; +14.0%) and among men aged 55 and older (+300; +15.4%).

After two months of little change, the number of regular EI beneficiaries in Alberta rose by 1,800 (+3.8%) in November, the first notable increase since August. Increases in November were primarily among men aged 55 and older (+900; +14.3%) and core-aged men (+800; +4.0%). There were also more core-aged women receiving regular EI benefits (+300; +2.8%). The Edmonton census metropolitan area (CMA) recorded an increase in EI recipients in November (+1,100; +6.9%).

In Ontario, the number of regular EI recipients rose by 4,000 (+3.0%) in November, the fourth consecutive monthly increase. The increase in November was primarily among core-aged men (+2,900; +5.5%). According to the Labour Force Survey, employment in Ontario was little changed for a fifth consecutive month in November. The unemployment rate in the province stood at 6.1% in November and was up 1.2 percentage points from April. The Toronto CMA saw the number of EI recipients increase by 2,900 (+5.4%) in November, while the CMA of Windsor posted a decline of 2,500 (-34.2%), partly offsetting an increase the month before.

Following little change in August and September, Prince Edward Island posted an increase in the number of EI recipients in October (+1.6%; +100) and November (+2.8%; +200). The increase in November was among core-aged men (+8.7%; +200) and men aged 55 and older (+7.4%; +100).

British Columbia saw more regular EI recipients (+1.0%; +500) in November, the smallest of six consecutive monthly increases. According to the LFS, the unemployment rate in British Columbia was 5.3% in November, little changed from October, but up 1.2 percentage points from December 2022 when it reached a low of 4.1%. Increases in regular EI recipients in November 2023 were mainly among core-aged men (+3.5%; +700) and young men aged 15 to 24 (+3.8%; +100). In contrast, the number of core-aged women receiving regular EI benefits fell by 300 (-1.8%) in November.

Chart 2: Number of regular Employment Insurance recipients rises notably in five provinces in November

Note to readers
Availability of data by occupation
Statistics Canada is currently revising the Employment Insurance Statistics (EIS) data to conform to the 2021 National Occupational Classification (NOC) standard. This will result in EIS occupation categories aligning with the 2021 Census of Population and Labour Force Survey NOC 2021 categories. The release of revised data is planned for later in 2024. Until then, information on Employment Insurance (EI) beneficiaries by occupation, including tables 14-10-0336-01 and 14-10-0337-01, will not be available.

Concepts and methodology
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.

EI statistics indicate the number of people who received EI benefits and should not be confused with Labour Force Survey (LFS) data, which provide estimates of the total number of unemployed people. 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 was not insured. Other unemployed people have contributed to the program, but do not meet the eligibility criteria, such as workers who left their jobs voluntarily or those who did not accumulate enough hours of work to receive benefits.

All data in this release are seasonally adjusted, unless otherwise specified. To model the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, values for all series from March 2020 to November 2021 have been treated with a combination of level shifts and outliers to determine a seasonal pattern for seasonal adjustment. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonally adjusted data – Frequently asked questions.

The number of regular EI beneficiaries for the current month and the previous month is subject to revision.

The number of beneficiaries is all people who received regular EI benefits from November 5 to 11, 2023. This period coincides with the reference week of the LFS.

A census metropolitan area (CMA) and a census agglomeration (CA) are formed by one or more adjacent municipalities centred on a population centre. A CMA 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 2016 – Definitions for more information.

Next release
Data on EI for December 2023 will be released on February 22, 2024.

Products
More information about the concepts and use of Employment Insurance statistics is available in the Guide to Employment Insurance Statistics (Catalogue number73-506-G).

Contact information
For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; infostats@statcan.gc.ca) or Media Relations (statcan.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.statcan@statcan.gc.ca).

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