Following little change in June, the number of regular employment insurance (EI) beneficiaries declined by 10,900, or 2.1 per cent, in July to 503,900, according to Statistics Canada. This decline brings the number of beneficiaries to a level similar to that observed before the start of the labour-market downturn in 2008.
Compared with July 2012, the number of people receiving regular benefits declined 5.7 per cent.
The number of beneficiaries fell in most provinces, with notable declines in Quebec, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as Saskatchewan. There were also declines in Nova Scotia, Alberta and New Brunswick, while there was a slight increase in Prince Edward Island. There was little change in Ontario and British Columbia.
The number of regular EI beneficiaries in Quebec fell by five per cent in July compared with June. All six metropolitan areas of the province experienced declines in the number of people receiving benefits. In Montréal, the number of beneficiaries fell 7.2 per cent to 51,300, following a small increase the previous month.
In Manitoba, the number of people receiving benefits fell by 4.1 per cent in July. In the metropolitan area of Winnipeg, the number of beneficiaries was down 4.7 per cent. This was the third consecutive monthly decline for both the province and Winnipeg.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the number of beneficiaries declined 3.6 per cent after two months of little change. In St. John's, there was little change from the previous month.
The number of people receiving benefits in Saskatchewan fell for the second consecutive month, down 3.6 per cent in July. The number of beneficiaries declined by 6.4 per cent in Regina and 1.5 per cent in Saskatoon.
Nova Scotia experienced a decline of three per cent in the number of regular EI beneficiaries in July. In Halifax, the number fell 4.6 per cent, the fourth notable decline in five months.
In Alberta, there were 2.6 per cent fewer beneficiaries in July compared with June. While Edmonton posted a decline of 4.5 per cent, Calgary experienced an increase of 1.8 per cent, which was the third time in four months.
The number of people receiving benefits also fell in New Brunswick, down 2.4 per cent in July. While there was little change in Moncton, the metropolitan area of Saint John saw a decline of 9.2 per cent in the number of beneficiaries, continuing a six-month downward trend.
The number of beneficiaries increased slightly in Prince Edward Island at 1.1 per cent, while there was little change in Ontario and British Columbia
The number of beneficiaries fell in three major occupation groups in July compared with June. The most notable decline was in trades, transport and equipment operation, which fell by 7.9 per cent. There was a smaller declines in business, finance and administrative occupations, which decreased by 1.8 per cent. Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport saw a 1.2 per cent decline. In both of these occupation groups, the decline has continued steadily in the last few months. On the other hand, the number of beneficiaries rose 3.6 per cent in primary industry and nine per cent in social science, education, government service and religion, while there was little change in the five remaining occupation groups.
Compared with 12 months earlier, there were fewer beneficiaries in almost all occupation groups. The declines ranged from 3.7 per cent in management to 16.8 per cent in health occupations. At the same time, there was virtually no change in trades, transport and equipment operation, while the number of beneficiaries in natural and applied science occupations was up 10.3 per cent in July — the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year increases for this group.
In July, the number of regular EI beneficiaries fell 3.3 per cent among men, while there was little change among women overall. Men under 55 years of age experienced the most notable decline, while there was little change for their female counterparts. In contrast, the number of women aged 55 and over receiving benefits increased 2.6 per cent compared with the previous month.
On a year-over-year basis, women aged 15 to 24 continued to experience the largest decline at 13.8 per cent, along with women aged 25 to 54, which declined by 10.8 per cent. Men aged 15 to 24 experienced a 4.4 per cent decline and those aged 25 to 54 declined by 4.6 per cent.
At the same time, the number of women aged 55 and over receiving benefits fell 1.7 per cent, while there was little change for their male counterparts.
The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.
The number of initial and renewal claims rose for the second consecutive month, up 3.4 per cent to 237,300 in July. Compared with July 2012, however, claims were virtually unchanged.
Almost all provinces saw an increase in the number of claims compared with June, most notably Saskatchewan, which increased by 20.9 per cent, and Manitoba, which increased by seven per cent. This was followed by Ontario, which increased by 4.7 per cent, British Columbia, which increased by 4.6 per cent, and Alberta, which increased by 3.3 per cent. Other smaller increases occurred in Nova Scotia, Quebec and New Brunswick. At the same time, there was little change in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.