Number of Canadians receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits fell 1.1% in April from March, to 598,400, the seventh straight monthly decline

OTTAWA , June 23, 2011 () – In April, 598,400 people received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, down by 6,500 (-1.1%) from March and the seventh consecutive monthly decline.

The number of beneficiaries fell in six provinces, with the fastest declines in British Columbia and Alberta.

Higher number of claims

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 increased 2.8% in April to 234,000. This increase followed three months of declines.

The largest advance in the number of claims occurred in Prince Edward Island (+5.2%), Alberta (+4.6%), New Brunswick (+4.1%) and British Columbia (+3.1%). At the same time, the number of claims declined in Manitoba (-2.6%).

Faster declines in beneficiaries in British Columbia and Alberta

The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits declined in six provinces in April, with the largest decreases in British Columbia and Alberta.

In British Columbia, the number of beneficiaries fell for the seventh consecutive month, down by 3.7% to 67,000 in April. In Alberta, the number also decreased for the seventh consecutive month, falling by 3.7% to 37,600. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of beneficiaries declined 1.4% to 35,800.

At the same time, there were more people receiving regular benefits in Prince Edward Island (+1.8%), Manitoba (+1.5%), New Brunswick (+1.4%) and Ontario (+0.9%).
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.
Continued year-over-year declines in most large centres

Between April 2010 and April 2011, the number of people receiving regular benefits at the national level fell by 97,500 (-12.8%). Declines occurred in 125 of the 143 large centres (see map). Large centres are those with a population of 10,000 or more.

The five large centres in Newfoundland and Labrador all had fewer beneficiaries in April. The fastest decrease occurred in St. John's, where the number fell 9.5% to 5,000. This was the 13th consecutive month with a year-over-year decline.

The number of regular beneficiaries fell in 25 of 33 large centres in Quebec between April 2010 and April 2011, with the fastest declines occurring in Saint-Georges, La Tuque and Granby. Over the same period, there was a notable increase in Sept-Îles. In Montréal, the number of beneficiaries fell by 12.8% to 64,100, the largest year-over-year decrease in over 12 months. In the census metropolitan area of Québec, the number of beneficiaries declined by 14.7% to 11,000, the fourth consecutive year-over-year decrease.

In Ontario, 38 of the 41 large centres posted a decrease. The most notable declines were in Greater Sudbury, Tillsonburg, Guelph, Thunder Bay and Belleville. In Toronto, the number fell by 19.6% to 72,000. Toronto has maintained a similar pace of decline over the last 11 months.

In Manitoba, the number of regular beneficiaries was down or unchanged in all four large centres. The fastest rate of decline occurred in Winnipeg, where the number fell 21.3% to 6,700, the eighth consecutive monthly year-over-year decrease.

In Saskatchewan, the number of beneficiaries fell in seven of eight large centres. The fastest declines occurred in Saskatoon and Regina. In Saskatoon, the number declined 31.9% to 1,900, the largest of five consecutive monthly year-over-year declines. In Regina, the number of beneficiaries decreased 28.5% to 1,200.

In Alberta, all 12 large centres had fewer beneficiaries in April compared with April 2010. The pace of decline was above 35% in Grande Prairie, Wetaskiwin, Camrose and Red Deer. In Calgary, the number fell 31.4% to 12,100, while in Edmonton, it declined 20.0% to 12,700. Both Calgary and Edmonton continued the year-over-year downward trend in beneficiaries that began in April 2010.

In British Columbia, the number of beneficiaries fell in 24 of 25 large centres in the 12 months to April. The fastest declines were in Fort St. John, Prince George, Kamloops, Quesnel and Dawson Creek. In Vancouver, the number of people receiving benefits fell 22.4% to 28,500. In Victoria, the number of beneficiaries decreased 12.2% to 3,500, similar to the pace of decline observed over the previous 10 months.
Demographic groups

Between April 2010 and April 2011, the number of male and female regular beneficiaries fell at a similar pace.

The number of male regular beneficiaries fell by 12.9% (-64,500) to 435,800, continuing the trend in monthly year-over-year declines which started in March 2010.

Among men, the fastest rates of decline occurred for those aged 25 to 54 (-15.2%) and youths under 25 (-12.3%). Men aged 55 and over also saw a decline in the number of beneficiaries (-5.2%).

The number of women receiving regular benefits decreased by 12.6% (-33,000) to 228,200 during this year-long period. This was the largest of 11 consecutive monthly year-over-year declines.

Among women, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 17.1% for youths under 25, and by 14.1% for women aged 25 to 54. The number of female beneficiaries aged 55 and over fell 5.5%, the second consecutive monthly year-over-year decline for that group.

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