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Canada February Employment Insurance Report (Text)

The following is the text of Canada’s employment insurance report for Feb. released by Statistics Canada.

Following three consecutive months of decline, the number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits was virtually unchanged in February, at 528,900. Compared with a year earlier, the number of beneficiaries was down 7.4%.

A number of provinces had fewer beneficiaries in February, with the largest percentage decreases in Prince Edward Island, Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and New Brunswick all saw smaller declines. There was little change in the other provinces.

Provincial focus

The number of EI regular beneficiaries in Prince Edward Island declined 2.8% in February. This was the fourth consecutive monthly decrease for the province.

In Manitoba, the number of people receiving benefits fell 2.4% in February, the fourth monthly decrease in a row. In Winnipeg, the number of beneficiaries was down 2.2% from the previous month.

In Saskatchewan, the number of beneficiaries decreased for the third consecutive month, down 1.7% in February. In Regina and Saskatoon, there was little change from the previous month.

The number of people receiving benefits in British Columbia declined 1.4% in February, continuing a six-month downward trend. Both Kelowna (-1.5%) and Abbotsford-Mission (-1.3%) had fewer beneficiaries than the previous month, while there was little change in Vancouver and Victoria.

There were 1.3% fewer beneficiaries in Newfoundland and Labrador, the third consecutive monthly decline in the province. In St. John’s, the number was down 1.7%.

In New Brunswick, the number of beneficiaries fell for the fourth month in a row, down 1.0% in February. Both Moncton (-2.1%) and Saint John (-1.3%) posted declines from the previous month.

The number of beneficiaries in Quebec was little changed in February, after three months of decline. Montréal also saw little change, following three consecutive monthly declines.

The number of beneficiaries in Ontario was little changed in February, after three months of decline. In Toronto, 62,800 people received benefits in February, up 1.5% from January.

Employment Insurance beneficiaries by occupation

Among all major occupation groups, two posted notable declines in the number of beneficiaries in February compared with the previous month: occupations in social science, education, government service and religion (-2.6%) and occupations unique to primary industry (-1.3%). For both of these occupation groups, the decline in February was the fourth in a row. There was little or no change in the other occupation groups.

Compared with February 2012, the number of beneficiaries fell markedly in all but one of the major occupation groups. The largest decline occurred in occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities (-12.2%), followed by business, finance and administrative occupations. There was little change in occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport.

Employment Insurance beneficiaries in major demographic groups

The number of EI regular beneficiaries among young men aged 15 to 24 declined 2.0% in February. This was the fourth consecutive monthly decrease for this group, and brought their year-over-year rate of decline to 12.8%, the largest of all demographic groups.

For all the other groups, the number of beneficiaries was little changed in February. On a year-over-year basis, the slowest rate of decline was among people aged 55 and over (-1.6%).

Claims decline markedly in February

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 fell by 15,200 (-6.3%) to 223,900 in February, more than offsetting the increase recorded the previous month. Quebec (-7.9%) showed the largest percentage decline in claims in February, followed by Ontario (-7.4%) and New Brunswick (-6.8%).

Smaller declines occurred in Alberta (-5.5%), British Columbia (-4.2%) and Saskatchewan (-3.2%). At the same time, claims fell slightly in Nova Scotia (-2.8%) and Manitoba (-1.8%), while there was little or no change in Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island.

Note to readers

Employment Insurance (EI) regular benefits are available to eligible individuals who lose their jobs and who are available for and able to work, but can’t find a job. The change in the number of regular beneficiaries reflects various situations, including people becoming beneficiaries, people going back to work, and people exhausting their regular benefits.

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.

New content and historical revision (released in March 2013)

Data on people who receive regular EI benefits are now available by detailed age and for 140 occupation groups. New seasonally adjusted data by sex, age, census metropolitan area, census agglomeration and occupation are also available. The definition of regular beneficiaries has been expanded to include those receiving regular benefits while participating in employment benefit programs, such as training. Furthermore, self-employed people receiving special benefits are now included in the special benefits category.

Geography boundaries have been updated from the 2001 to the 2006 Standard Geographical Classification, which mainly affects boundaries of census metropolitan areas and census agglomerations.

To preserve consistencies across time despite all of the above changes, all EI data series have been the subject of an historical revision going back to January 1997.

All data are available on CANSIM.

All data in this release are seasonally adjusted. For more information on seasonal adjustment, see Seasonal adjustment and identifying economic trends (http://www5.statcan.gc.ca/bsolc/olc-cel/colc-cel?catno=11-010- X201000311141&lang=fra) .

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. Recent examples are the pilot project entitled “Working While on Claim,” introduced on August 5, 2012, and the regulation on search for suitable employment, that came into effect on January 6, 2013.

The number of regular beneficiaries and the number of claims received for the current and previous month are subject to revision.

The number of beneficiaries is a measure of all people who received EI benefits from February 10 to 16. 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 LFS data, which provide information on the total number of unemployed people.

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