Number of Canadians receiving EI at record lows, down 44 per cent from last year: StatCan
The number of Canadians receiving employment insurance benefits are at a record low, new figures from Statistics Canada show.
In January, 375,000 Canadians received regular EI benefits, which is down by 20,000, or five per cent, from December 2022. StatCan says this is the lowest number of regular EI recipients since 1997, when data first became available.
The number of EI beneficiaries in January is also down 44 per cent from the previous year, and the declines are largest among young people. For women between the ages of 15 to 24, the number of EI beneficiaries fell 73 per cent from January 2022, while EI recipients among men aged 15 to 24 dropped 60 per cent.
Quebec saw the highest month-to-month drop in the number of EI beneficiaries with a decline of 11 per cent from December 2022. In PEI, EI claims dropped eight per cent, while in the declines in Alberta and Ontario were around five per cent.
Windsor, Ont., Quebec City and Oshawa, Ont., were the census metropolitan areas that saw the largest drop in the number of EI beneficiaries. In all three regions, EI claims declined by around 14 per cent compared to the previous month.
There has been a constant downward trend of EI usage since the spring of 2021 as COVID-19 restrictions around the country began to ease. The number of EI recipients peaked in May 2021 at nearly 1.7 million beneficiaries.
The latest numbers also come at a time when Canada has been experiencing unemployment rates at or around record lows, despite the Bank of Canada's interest rate hikes, which were expected to raise unemployment as the bank tries to fight inflation.
Earlier this month, StatCan reported that Canada's unemployment rate held steady at five per cent in February, just above the record low of 4.9 per cent reached last summer. The Canadian economy also added 22,000 jobs in February and 150,000 jobs in January.
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