Canadians Receiving Employment Insurance Benefits Inches Higher in January

On Thursday, Statistics Canada (StatCan) reported that in January the number of Canadians receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits was up 0.3%, or an additional 1,600 beneficiaries. This raises the total number of persons receiving EI benefits to 468,000.

Year-over-year, the total number of regular EI beneficiaries increased 18.0%, or 71,000, which partially offset the previous year-over-year decline of 40.6%, or 271,000.

StatCan notes that in general, variations in the number of EI beneficiaries can reflect changes in the circumstances of different groups, including those becoming beneficiaries, those going back to work, those exhausting their regular benefits, and those no longer receiving benefits for other reasons.

Data from the Labor Force Survey (LFS) reveals that the unemployment rate declined 0.1 percentage point to 5.7% in January, the first decline since December 2022. The unemployment rate had been on an upward trend through most of 2023, rising from 5.1% in April to 5.8% in December.

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