The following is the text of Canada’s employment insurance report for April released by Statistics Canada.
The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits decreased for the third consecutive month in April, down 28,600 (-5.3%) to 513,700.
The number of beneficiaries decreased in nine provinces, with the largest percentage declines occurring in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Claims unchanged in April
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.
Nationally, the number of initial and renewal claims was essentially unchanged in April at 235,700. The number has remained relatively stable since September 2011.
Claims increased in Nova Scotia (+7.4%), Prince Edward Island (+7.0%), Saskatchewan (+5.8%) and British Columbia (+4.5%). They declined 1.3% in Quebec and there was little change in all other provinces.
Beneficiaries down in nine provinces
The number of beneficiaries decreased in nine provinces in April. The largest percentage declines occurred in Quebec (-7.0%), Ontario (-6.7%), Alberta (-6.7%) and Saskatchewan (-6.4%).
There were also declines in British Columbia (-5.1%) and Manitoba (-4.4%). The number of people receiving benefits edged down in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador. There was no change in Prince Edward Island.
Continued year-over-year declines in most large centres
Large centres are those with a population of 10,000 or more. Monthly EI data by sub-provincial region are not seasonally adjusted and are therefore compared on a year-over-year basis.
Between April 2011 and April 2012, the number of people receiving regular EI benefits decreased in 137 of the 143 large centres.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of beneficiaries declined in all five large centres during the 12-month period. In St. John’s, the number fell 21.1% to 3,900, continuing a two- year-long downward trend.
The two large centres in Prince Edward Island had fewer beneficiaries for the 11th consecutive month. The largest percentage decline occurred in Charlottetown, where the number of beneficiaries fell 20.1%. It was the biggest decrease since the beginning of the downward trend in July 2011.
All five large centres in Nova Scotia had fewer beneficiaries in the 12 months to April. The largest decline occurred in Halifax, where the number of people receiving benefits fell 16.4% to 5,000. This continued a two-year-long downward trend.
In New Brunswick, five of the six large centres had fewer beneficiaries in the 12-month period. The largest decline was in Saint John, where the number fell 12.4% to 2,500. There were fewer beneficiaries in Fredericton for the second consecutive month.
Of the 33 large centres in Quebec, 31 had fewer beneficiaries between April 2011 and April 2012. The largest percentage decreases were in Rouyn-Noranda, Rivière-du-Loup and Sherbrooke. In Montréal, the number of people receiving benefits fell 15.5% to 54,400, continuing a downward trend that started in March 2010.
All 41 large centres in Ontario had fewer beneficiaries. The largest percentage declines were in Chatham-Kent, Hamilton and Windsor. In Toronto, the number of beneficiaries fell 21.6% to 57,100, continuing a two-year-long downward trend.
In Manitoba, the number of people receiving regular benefits decreased in all four large centres in the 12 months to April. In Winnipeg, the number of beneficiaries declined 10.9% to 6,000, the 20th consecutive month of year-over-year declines.
There were fewer beneficiaries in seven of the eight large centres in Saskatchewan, with the largest percentage decline in Moose Jaw. In Regina, the number of beneficiaries fell 18.5% to 1,000, continuing the downward trend that began in the summer of 2010. In Saskatoon, 1,700 people received benefits, down 11.3%, continuing the downward trend that started 17 months earlier.
All 12 large centres in Alberta had fewer beneficiaries for the eighth consecutive month. The largest percentage decreases were in Brooks, Lethbridge and Medicine Hat. In Edmonton, the number of beneficiaries fell 40.8% to 7,600, the largest decline since the beginning of the downward trend in April 2010. In Calgary, 7,800 people received benefits, a 35.8% decrease. This continued a two-year period of declines.
In British Columbia, the number of beneficiaries decreased in 24 of the 25 large centres. The largest declines occurred in Squamish, Penticton, Vernon, Kamloops, Kelowna, Vancouver and Victoria. In Vancouver, 22,500 people received benefits in April, down 21.4% from April 2011. This continued a series of declines that began almost two years earlier. In Victoria, 2,800 people received regular benefits, down 20.9%.
EI data by sex and age are not seasonally adjusted and are therefore compared on a year-over-year basis.
Between April 2011 and April 2012, the number of men receiving regular benefits fell 16.4% to 366,800, continuing a series of declines that started in March 2010. The number of beneficiaries fell 19.0% among men under 25 years of age and 17.0% among those aged 25 to 54. For men aged 55 and over, the number of people receiving benefits declined 13.1%.
A total of 195,500 women received regular benefits, down 15.0% from 12 months earlier. Among women under 25 years of age, the number of beneficiaries fell 17.1%, while for those aged 25 to 54, the number fell 15.5%. For women 55 and over, the decline was 12.4%.
Note to readers
The change in the number of regular Employment Insurance (EI) beneficiaries reflects various situations, including people becoming beneficiaries, people going back to work, and people exhausting their regular benefits.
All data in this release are seasonally adjusted unless otherwise specified.
EI statistics are produced from administrative data sources provided by Service Canada and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. These statistics may, from time to time, be affected by changes to the Employment Insurance Act or administrative procedures. The number of regular beneficiaries and the number of claims received for March and April are preliminary. In this release, large centres correspond to those with a population of 10,000 or more.
The number of beneficiaries is a measure of all people who received EI benefits from April 15 to 21. This period coincides with the reference week of the Labour Force Survey (LFS).
EI statistics indicate the number of people who received EI benefits, and should not be confused with data coming from the LFS, which provides information on 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 is not insured. Other unemployed people have contributed to the program but do not meet the eligibility criteria, such as workers who left their job voluntarily or those who did not accumulate enough hours of work to receive benefits.