The number of people receiving regular employment insurance benefits dropped 13,300 (or two per cent) in January to 640,200, the sixth decline in seven months, according to Statistics Canada data.
The drop was spread across the country, as the number of beneficiaries decreased in seven provinces, with the largest decline (minus 5.5 per cent) reported in Ontario. New Brunswick, the only province with a notable increase, saw the number of beneficiaries rise 2.5 per cent to 34,300.
Drop in claims
The number of claims also declined. There were 242,400 initial and renewal claims received in January, down 4,900 (two per cent) from December. Ontario again led the way down (8,400 fewer claims) while New Brunswick’s claims jumped by 1,100. Claims provide an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.
Faster year-over-year decline for men than women
Between January 2010 and January 2011, the number of male EI regular beneficiaries fell by 79,000 (down 13.4 per cent) to 512,500. This was the 11th consecutive month with a year-over-year decline.
For men, the fastest rates of decline occurred among those aged under 25 years (down 15.9 per cent) and 25 to 54 (down 15.7 per cent). Over the same period, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 3.2 per cent among men aged 55 and over.
The rate of decline was slower among female beneficiaries. The number of women receiving regular benefits decreased by 19,900 (down 6.9 per cent) to 267,200. This was the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year declines.
For women aged under 25 years, the number of beneficiaries decreased by 3,400 (down 14.9 per cent), while among those aged 25 to 54, it decreased by 18,700 (down 8.9 per cent). In contrast, the number of female beneficiaries aged 55 and over rose by 2,200 (up 4.1 per cent).
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