The number of people receiving regular employment insurance (EI) benefits decreased by 8,300 or 1.6 per cent to 517,000 in December, according to Statistics Canada. This is the third time in four months claims have fallen. The recent decreases brought the number of beneficiaries down to a level similar to that of the spring of 2012.
All provinces had fewer beneficiaries in December, with the largest percentage decreases occurring in Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and Manitoba.
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 totaled 226,700 in December, virtually unchanged from the previous month.
Provincially, the number of claims declined 6.1 per cent in Manitoba, 3.2 per cent in Alberta, 2.1 per cent in New Brunswick and 1.9 per cent in Quebec, while the number increased in by 4.3 per cent in Nova Scotia, 2.7 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador and 1.7 per cent in Ontario. There was little change in the other provinces.
The number of people receiving regular benefits fell in all provinces in December.
The largest percentage decrease occurred in Prince Edward Island, where the number of beneficiaries declined 4.6 per cent to 7,800 in December, following four months of little change.
There was also a notable decline in Newfoundland and Labrador where the number of beneficiaries fell by 4.1 per cent to 32,400, continuing a downward trend that began in the fall of 2011.
The number of people receiving regular benefits in Manitoba decreased by 3.3 per cent to 12,900 in December, following a 1.5 per cent decline the month before.
The number of beneficiaries in Saskatchewan fell by 2.5 per cent to 9,700 in December, after little change in the previous three months.
In Nova Scotia, the number of beneficiaries declined 2.1 per cent to 29,000, following a decrease of similar magnitude in the previous month.
Smaller declines also occurred in the following provinces:
• New Brunswick (down 1.9 per cent)
• Alberta (down 1.7 per cent)
• Quebec (down 1.1 per cent)
• Ontario (down 0.8 per cent)
• British Columbia (down 0.8 per cent).
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