EI beneficiaries climb 5.1 per cent in June: StatsCan

Rate of increases slows in second quarter

In June, 816,600 people received regular employment insurance benefits, up 5.1 per cent from May, according to Statistics Canada.

Since the labour market began to deteriorate last October, the number of people receiving EI benefits increased by 316,300, or 63.2 per cent.

But there are signs the situation is starting to turn around.

During the second quarter of 2009, the number of beneficiaries increased 18.8 per cent, down from the growth rate of 25.2 per cent during the first quarter.

Initial and renewal claims in June fell by 7.9 per cent to 302,200, the largest decline since the start of the labour market downturn. Declines occurred in all provinces and territories, except Ontario where there was a slight 0.9-per-cent increase.

Alberta saw the largest percentage increase of EI beneficiaries in June, up 9.4 per cent to 61,100. Since the labour market started to deteriorate last October, the number of beneficiaries in this province has risen every month.

During the same period, the unemployment rate in the province climbed from 3.7 per cent to 6.8 per cent, but remained well below the national rate of 8.6 per cent in June.

In British Columbia, the number of people receiving benefits increased by 4,900, or 5.5 per cent, in June. Since October, the number of people receiving regular EI benefits in B.C. has doubled to 93,500.

In Ontario, the number of regular EI beneficiaries increased by three per cent to 283,000 in June, much slower than the 14.3-per-cent increase in May. Since October, the number of regular beneficiaries has increased by 83 per cent.

In Saskatchewan, the number of regular beneficiaries rose 2.1 per cent in June, its slowest rate of growth since the start of the downturn. From October to June, the number of beneficiaries rose by 5,700 to 14,200. Despite this increase, the unemployment rate in Saskatchewan was the lowest in the country in June.

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