Canada January Employment Insurance Report (Text)

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

In January, the number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits fell for the third consecutive month, down 8,500 (-1.6%) to 531,100. Compared with January 2012, the number of beneficiaries was down 8.8%.

Most provinces had fewer beneficiaries in January, with the largest percentage decreases occurring in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Alberta and Manitoba.

The number of regular beneficiaries declined slightly in Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Ontario, while there was no change in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.

Provincial focus

This month marks the first time seasonally adjusted data on beneficiaries are available for census metropolitan areas (CMAs). This will allow for month-to-month analysis at a more detailed geographic level.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of people receiving regular benefits fell for the second consecutive month, down 5.3% in January. In the CMA of St. John’s, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 3.0% compared with the previous month, continuing a series of declines that began in the spring of 2011.

In New Brunswick, the number of people receiving benefits fell 2.7% in January, the third monthly decrease in a row. In Moncton, the number declined 7.0%, the third consecutive monthly decrease, and the largest decline in January among all CMAs in the country. In Saint John, however, the number of people receiving benefits increased for the fifth consecutive month, up 1.0% in January.

The number of regular beneficiaries in Alberta fell by 2.5%, the second consecutive monthly decrease. In Calgary, the number of people receiving benefits declined by 2.0% from the previous month, and in Edmonton it decreased by 1.9%. Compared with 12 months earlier, Edmonton (-16.0%) posted one of the fastest rates of decline among all CMAs. The rate of decline recorded in Calgary was 2.5% over the same period.

In Manitoba, the number of people receiving regular benefits fell for the third month in a row, down 2.3% in January. In Winnipeg, the number of beneficiaries was little changed from the previous month.

Following declines in the two previous months, the number of beneficiaries in Quebec edged down 1.5% in January. Among the province’s six CMAs, three saw declines from the previous month: Gatineau (-3.5%), Montréal (-2.9%) and Trois-Rivières (-1.1%), while there was an increase in Saguenay (+1.3%), and little change in Sherbrooke and Québec.

In Ontario, the number of beneficiaries edged down by 1.1% in January, following similar decreases in the previous two months. There were declines in 9 of the 15 CMAs in the province, with a rate of decrease ranging from 1.3% in Toronto to 6.5% in Guelph. Among the 5 CMAs with more beneficiaries in January than the previous month, increases ranged from 1.0% in Hamilton to 4.3% in Windsor. Brantford was the lone CMA with no change.

Number of EI beneficiaries declines in most occupations

This release, also for the first time, includes an analysis of the number of beneficiaries by occupation, as data on this variable are now available.

Most major occupation groups posted declines in the number of people receiving regular benefits in January compared with the previous month. Occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities posted the largest percentage decrease (-3.1%) and the third consecutive monthly decline. They were followed by occupations in social science, education, government service and religion (-2.8%), which also recorded their third consecutive monthly decline.

In January, three occupation groups saw little change in the number of beneficiaries: primary industries; art, culture, recreation and sports; as well as natural and applied sciences. In the latter group, the number of beneficiaries had been increasing slightly since July 2012. It is the only occupation group that had showed an upward trend over that period.

Compared with January 2012, the number of beneficiaries fell in virtually all major occupational groups. The largest decline occurred in occupations unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities (-15.2%). The only occupation group that showed little change in the number of beneficiaries was art, culture, recreation and sports.

EI beneficiaries in major demographic groups

Starting with this release, month-to-month analysis for major demographic groups is provided, using seasonally adjusted data that are now available.

The number of EI regular beneficiaries in January fell for the third consecutive month in most age groups. The fastest decline occurred among young people aged 15 to 24 (-2.7%), followed by those aged 25 to 54 (-2.0%). At the same time, the number of beneficiaries was little changed among people 55 and over.

On a year-over-year basis, the fastest decline occurred among young men aged 15 to 24 (˗13.9%) and young women in the same age group (-12.1%), while the slowest decline was recorded among men aged 55 and over (-3.2%) and women in the same age group (-2.2%).

Claims increase in January

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 rose by 8,700 (+3.8%) to 238,500 in January. Quebec (+6.6%) showed the largest percentage increase in claims, followed by Ontario (+5.2%) and New Brunswick (+5.2%). British Columbia (+1.7%) also saw the number of claims rise from the previous month.

At the same time, claims fell slightly in Saskatchewan (- 1.4%) and Nova Scotia (-1.2%), while there was little change in the other provinces.

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

For the first time, data on people who receive regular EI benefits are 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 ( .

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 January 13 to 19. 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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