Number of Canadians receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits fell by 15,400, or 2.7%, in September, continuing yearlong downward trend; largest percentage declines were in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario

OTTAWA , November 17, 2011 () – Following an increase in August, the number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits fell by 15,400 (-2.7%) to 549,300 in September. The number of beneficiaries has been on a year-long downward trend.

The number of beneficiaries fell in most provinces, with the largest percentage declines in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.

Claims down in September

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.

Following an increase in August, the number of initial and renewal claims fell by 27,100 (-10.5%) to 230,700 in September. Claims fell in every province, with the largest percentage declines in Quebec (-19.0%), Saskatchewan (-9.8%), Manitoba (-7.5%) and Ontario (-7.3%).

Number of beneficiaries declines in most provinces

Most provinces posted a decrease in the number of beneficiaries, with the largest percentage declines occurring in Alberta (-7.3%), Saskatchewan (-4.9%), Manitoba (-3.6%) and Ontario (-3.6%). The declines in these provinces extend an overall downward trend that began a year ago.

In contrast, the number of beneficiaries increased in Newfoundland and Labrador (+3.0%) in September, and edged up in Prince Edward Island (+1.2%).
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.
Year-over-year declines in most large centres

Between September 2010 and September 2011, the number of people receiving regular benefits fell by 105,400 (-20.3%) nationally. Declines occurred in 135 of the 143 large centres (see map). Large centres are those with a population of 10,000 or more.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, there were fewer beneficiaries in four of the five large centres. In St. John's, the number fell 17.5%, extending the trend of monthly year-over-year decreases that began in April 2010. In Grand Falls-Windsor, the number of beneficiaries declined 12.5%, while in Corner Brook, the number rose 16.8%.

In Nova Scotia, all five large centres had fewer beneficiaries in September 2011 compared with September 2010. The largest decrease occurred in Halifax, where the number fell 12.3% to 4,400, continuing the downward trend that began in March 2010. Cape Breton also had fewer beneficiaries, down 3.1% to 5,500.

In New Brunswick, three of the six large centres had fewer beneficiaries in the 12 months to September. The fastest declines occurred in Saint John (-16.9%) and Moncton (-15.3%).

In Quebec, the number of beneficiaries fell in 32 of the 33 large centres. The fastest decline occurred in the census metropolitan area of Québec (-26.8%). There were similar year-over-year decreases in Saint-Hyacinthe and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. In Montréal, the number of beneficiaries fell 23.7% to 42,500, continuing the downward trend that began in March 2010. Granby, Rouyn-Noranda and Sherbrooke also posted marked declines.

In Ontario, 39 of the 41 large centres had fewer beneficiaries compared with 12 months earlier, with marked percentage decreases occurring in Tillsonburg, Guelph and Chatham-Kent. Other large centres with notable percentage declines include Stratford, Greater Sudbury, London and Thunder Bay. In Toronto, the number of beneficiaries fell 26.4% to 52,500. This was the largest percentage decline since March 2010, when the downward year-over-year trend for Toronto began.

In Manitoba, the number of people receiving regular benefits fell in three of the four large centres in the 12 months to September. In Winnipeg, the number of beneficiaries declined by 26.6% to 4,500, the 12th consecutive year-over-year monthly decrease.

In Saskatchewan, all eight large centres recorded year-over-year declines, with the fastest decrease occurring in Moose Jaw. In Regina, the number of beneficiaries fell 37.6% to 680, continuing the trend of monthly year-over-year decreases that started in the summer of 2010. In Saskatoon, the number fell 31.0% to 1,200, the 10th consecutive decline.

All 12 large centres in Alberta had fewer beneficiaries in September 2011, compared with September 2010. The largest declines were in Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge and Red Deer. The number of beneficiaries fell 39.9% to 7,400 in Calgary and 38.7% to 7,200 in Edmonton.

In British Columbia, the number of beneficiaries fell in all 25 large centres, with the fastest declines in Kamloops, Powell River and Vancouver. In Vancouver, the number of people receiving benefits fell 33.2% to 19,400, while in Victoria, it decreased by 23.8% to 2,400.
Demographic groups

The number of men receiving regular benefits fell 22.4% to 227,800 between September 2010 and September 2011. During this period, the pace of decline for men under 25 and those aged 25 to 54 was similar, at 24.0% and 23.8%, respectively. Among men aged 55 and over, the number of beneficiaries fell 17.3% in the 12 months to September, the largest year-over-year decline for this group in one year and a half.

The number of women receiving benefits in September totalled 184,900, down 17.6% from September 2010. The number of beneficiaries fell 22.8% among women under 25 and 18.3% among those aged 25 to 54, continuing a downward trend that began over a year ago. For women 55 and over, the year-over-year monthly decline was slower, at 13.1%—the seventh consecutive decline for this group.

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