Canadians on EI drops by 10.8%
The number of Canadians receiving regular EI benefits declined for the ninth consecutive month, dropping by 10.8% in February to 565,000. According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), the unemployment rate fell in February to 5.5%, as it approached an all-time low.
The number of regular EI beneficiaries fell in nine provinces in February, led by Quebec (-16.6%), Ontario (-13.8%), and BC (-7.6%). According to February LFS results, both Ontario and Quebec saw strong employment growth in the month. PEI was the only province to see little change in regular EI beneficiaries compared with January.
There were 256,000 EI claims during February, a decline of 26.8% compared with January 2022. The number of claims indicates the number of people who could become beneficiaries. Claims data include initial and renewal claims received for any EI benefit, including special benefits.
The number of claims dropped in nine provinces, led by Quebec (-37.7%), Ontario (-33.9%), New Brunswick (-19.1%), and BC (-11.9%). Newfoundland and Labrador was the only province where claims were little changed from January to February 2022.
While unemployment fell in February, the number of people unemployed for 27 weeks or more (212,000) remained higher than in February 2020 (180,000), before the COVID-19 pandemic. Among those who received regular EI benefits in February 2022 and who received regular EI benefits in at least 7 of the previous 12 months, 49.9% last worked in either sales and service occupations (24.9%) or trades, transport, and equipment operators and related occupations (25.1%).
Among longer-term regular EI beneficiaries who last worked in sales and service occupations, 21.3% worked while receiving part of their EI benefits in February, a drop of 21.8 percentage points compared with January.