Number of claims also down
The number of regular employment insurance (EI) beneficiaries fell by 2.4 per cent to 508,500 in May, continuing the most recent downward trend. Compared with May 2012, the number of people receiving regular EI benefits was down 7.4 per cent.
Most provinces saw decreases in the number of beneficiaries in May, while there was little change in Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
The number of people receiving regular benefits in Prince Edward Island declined 5.3 per cent in May, continuing a six-month downward trend.
After nine months of little change, the number of beneficiaries in Ontario fell 3.6 per cent in May.
There were 3.2 per cent fewer people receiving regular benefits in New Brunswick in May, continuing a downward trend that started in the autumn of 2012.
The number of beneficiaries in Quebec continued its steady decline for the seventh consecutive month, down 2.4 per cent in May.
In British Columbia, the number of people receiving regular benefits decreased for the fourth month in a row, down 1.9 per cent in May.
The number of beneficiaries in Manitoba declined 1.8 per cent in May, partly offsetting the increase recorded in April.
There were 1.2 per cent fewer beneficiaries in Nova Scotia, marking the seventh consecutive monthly decline.
Most major occupation groups posted declines in the number of beneficiaries in May compared with the previous month. The largest decreases occurred in occupations unique to primary industry (down 5.5 per cent, those unique to processing, manufacturing and utilities (down 3.7 per cent , as well as occupations in trades, transport and equipment operation ( down three per cent).
There were also notable declines in four other occupation groups. These declines ranged from 1.2 per cent in sales and service to 2.6 per cent in social science, education, government service and religion. At the same time, three occupation groups posted little change in May: management; business, finance and administrative occupations; and art, culture, recreation and sport.
Men aged 55 and over experienced the largest decline in the number of beneficiaries (down 4.9 per cent) in May; this was also the first decline for this group after five consecutive months of little change. The second largest decrease (down 4.4 per cent) was among women aged 15 to 24, followed by women 55 and over (down 3.5 per cent).
There were also fewer beneficiaries among women aged 25 to 54 and their male counterparts (down 2.2 per cent and down 1.7 per cent respectively). Only men aged 15 to 24 saw little change in May, following an eight-month downward trend.
The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.
Following little change in April, the number of initial and renewal claims fell by 1.7 per cent to 225,200 in May.
Provincially, claims declined most markedly in Saskatchewan (down 9.7 per cent). Other notable declines occurred in Prince Edward Island (down 4.5 per cent), Manitoba (down 3.8 per cent) and Quebec (down 3.1 per cent).
The number of claims also decreased in New Brunswick (down 2.1 per cent) and British Columbia (down 1.1 per cent), while it was little changed in the other provinces.