The number of people receiving regular employment insurance benefits fell 2.4 per cent (down 19,100 people) in August, the second consecutive monthly decline.
Decreases occurred in nearly all provinces, with the most notable percentage declines in Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, according to Statistics Canada.
There were 763,200 beneficiaries in August, up 52.5 per cent from the start of the economic downturn in October 2008.
The provincial picture: Most go down, some go up
The number of beneficiaries plunged 8.7 per cent in August to 43,600 in Newfoundland and Labrador. This was the first decline for the province since the start of the labour market downturn in October 2008.
In Ontario, the number of regular EI beneficiaries fell by 14,800 (a drop of 5.6 per cent) to 247,400, the second consecutive monthly decline. Prior to these two declines, Canada’s most populous province had seen the number of beneficiaries increase at an average pace of 16,500 a month between October and June.
In Saskatchewan, 13,000 people received regular EI benefits in August, down 5.3 per cent from July. Manitoba experienced its third consecutive monthly drop, as the number of recipients fell 4.5 per cent to 14,500.
On the other side of the coin, Quebec and New Brunswick were the only provinces with an increase in the number of people receiving EI. In Quebec, 208,000 people received benefits in August, up 4.9 per cent following a decline in July. The number of beneficiaries in New Brunswick edged up 650 to 37,100 in August.
Increase in EI claims
To receive EI benefits, individuals must first submit a claim. Analyzing this data provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries, according to Statistics Canada.
The news on this front isn’t great: Following declines in June and July, initial and renewal claims received in August were up 8.2 per cent (22,500), returning to about the same level as June. Increases occurred in most provinces, most notably in British Columbia (up 9.9 per cent), Ontario (up 8.9 per cent) and Saskatchewan (up 8.9 per cent.) Newfoundland and Labrador was the only province where the number of claims declined (down 0.5 per cent).
Percentage change in number of EI beneficiaries by province/territory (July to August 2009)
Newfoundland and Labrador
Prince Edward Island
Percentage change in number of EI beneficiaries by selected census metropolitan areas (August 2008 to August 2009)
Looking at a longer-term picture (year over year), the number for most Canadian cities isn’t pretty.
The largest centres of Alberta continued to experience the fastest rates of increase in the number of regular beneficiaries compared with 12 months earlier. In Calgary, for example, the number of people receiving regular benefits increased sharply from 5,700 in August 2008 to 22,100 in August 2009.
In B.C., 13 of the 25 large centres had twice as many beneficiaries compared with one year ago. In Ontario, the number of EI recipients more than doubled in four of its 41 largest centres for the 12-month period ending in August.
Saint John, N.B.
St. Johns, N.L.
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