The following is the text of Canada’s employment insurance report for May released by Statistics Canada.
The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits totalled 512,600 in May, virtually unchanged from April. This followed three months of consecutive declines. The number of beneficiaries decreased slightly in Alberta, while it edged up in New Brunswick.
Claims decrease in May
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.
In May, the number of initial and renewal claims fell 4.2% to 223,800. Claims fell in every province, with the largest percentage declines in Saskatchewan (-11.0%), New Brunswick (‑ 8.3%) and Manitoba (-6.6%).
Little or no change in most provinces
There was little or no change in beneficiaries in most provinces in May.
In Alberta, the number of people receiving regular EI benefits decreased 2.3% to 24,000, continuing a downward trend that began in January 2012.
In Ontario, the number of beneficiaries edged down 0.9% to 148,200 in May, following a substantial decline in April.
There were small increases in New Brunswick (+2.1%) and Prince Edward Island (+1.5%). In Quebec, the number of beneficiaries edged up 0.5%, following three consecutive monthly declines.
Year-over-year declines in most large urban centres
Large urban centres are those with a population of 10,000 or more. EI data at the sub-provincial level are not seasonally adjusted and are therefore compared on a year-over-year basis.
Between May 2011 and May 2012, the number of people receiving regular EI benefits fell 13.6% to 468,100. Declines occurred in 124 of 143 large centres.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of beneficiaries declined in four of five large centres. The largest decrease occurred in St. John’s, where the number fell 19.4% to 3,400.
In Prince Edward Island, the number of beneficiaries fell 23.5% to 1,800 in Charlottetown, while it was little changed in Summerside.
In Nova Scotia, four of five large centres had fewer beneficiaries in the 12 months to May. The largest percentage declines occurred in Truro, Kentville and Halifax. In Halifax, beneficiaries fell 13.6% to 4,600.
The number of beneficiaries fell in four of the six large centres in New Brunswick. In Fredericton, it declined 10.2% to 1,200, the third monthly drop in a row. In Saint John, the number decreased 4.6% to 2,300.
In Quebec, year-over-year declines occurred in 28 of the 33 large centres in May. The largest percentage decreases occurred in Rouyn-Noranda, Val-d’Or, Rivière-du-Loup and Amos. The number of beneficiaries in the census metropolitan area of Québec fell 12.0%. In Montréal, it declined 11.5% to 46,300.
Of the 41 large centres in Ontario, 37 had fewer beneficiaries in the 12 months to May. The largest percentage decreases occurred in Stratford, Woodstock, Chatham-Kent, Collingwood and Windsor. In Toronto, there were 19.2% fewer people receiving EI benefits in May. The rate of decline in the number of beneficiaries in Toronto has been around 20% since June 2010.
In Manitoba, the number of beneficiaries fell in three of the four large centres. In Winnipeg, it was down 4.8% to 5,000.
In Saskatchewan, all eight large centres continued to post year-over-year declines, the largest occurring in Regina, where the number of beneficiaries fell 18.8% to 780.
In Alberta, all 12 large centres had fewer beneficiaries in the 12 months to May. The largest percentage declines occurred in Lethbridge, Grand Prairie and Edmonton. In Edmonton, the number of people receiving EI benefits dropped 37.8% to 6,300, and in Calgary, it fell 34.2% to 6,700. Other large centres with year-over-year declines of 30% or more were Cold Lake, Red Deer and Medicine Hat.
In British Columbia, the number of beneficiaries decreased in 22 of the 25 large centres, with the largest declines in Squamish, Penticton and Vernon. In Vancouver, 21,100 people received benefits in May, down 19.7% from 12 months earlier. In Victoria, the number was down 19.0% to 2,600.
EI data by sex and age are not seasonally adjusted and are therefore compared on a year-over-year basis.
In May, 288,500 men received regular benefits, down 14.2% from May 2011. The number of beneficiaries fell at a similar rate for men under 25 (-14.6%) and for men aged 25 to 54 (- 14.7%). Among men aged 55 and over, the number fell 12.3%.
In May, 179,500 women received regular benefits, down 12.7% from 12 months earlier. Among women, the number of beneficiaries decreased 14.5% for those under 25, and 13.3% for those aged 25 to 54. The number of beneficiaries among women aged 55 and over fell 10.1%.
Note to readers
The change in the number of regular Employment Insurance (EI) beneficiaries reflects various situations, including people becoming beneficiaries, people going back to work, and people exhausting their regular benefits.
All data in this release are seasonally adjusted unless otherwise specified.
EI statistics are produced from administrative data sources provided by Service Canada and Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. These statistics may, from time to time, be affected by changes to the Employment Insurance Act or administrative procedures. The number of regular beneficiaries and the number of claims received for April and May are preliminary. In this release, large urban centres correspond to those with a population of 10,000 or more.
The number of beneficiaries is a measure of all people who received EI benefits from May 13 to 19. This period coincides with the reference week of the Labour Force Survey (LFS).
EI statistics indicate the number of people who received EI benefits, and should not be confused with data coming from the LFS, which provides information on the total number of unemployed people.
There is always a certain proportion of unemployed people who do not qualify for benefits. Some unemployed people have not contributed to the program because they have not worked in the past 12 months or their employment is not insured. Other unemployed people have contributed to the program but do not meet the eligibility criteria, such as workers who left their job voluntarily or those who did not accumulate enough hours of work to receive benefits.