- In January 2023, the number of Canadians receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits decreased by 5.0% compared to December 2022, with a total of 375,000 beneficiaries. This is the lowest number of regular EI beneficiaries on record since 1997.
- The largest proportional decline in the number of beneficiaries was observed among young women aged 15 to 24 years (-73.0%), followed by young men aged 15 to 24 years (-59.9%).
- The number of regular EI beneficiaries also decreased in eight provinces, with Quebec showing the largest proportional decline (-10.5%).
In January 2023, the number of regular Employment Insurance (EI) beneficiaries in Canada decreased by 5.0% to 375,000, the lowest number on record since comparable data became available in 1997. This decrease can be attributed to several factors, including individuals finding employment, exhausting their regular benefits, and no longer qualifying for EI benefits.
The decline in Beneficiaries Among Young People
Young women aged 15 to 24 years experienced the largest proportional decline in regular EI beneficiaries, falling by 73.0% or 27,000. Meanwhile, young men aged 15 to 24 years experienced a decline of 59.9% or 31,000. Despite the larger decrease in recipients among young men, they continued to account for the majority of young beneficiaries at 67.7% in January.
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Variations in Beneficiaries Across Provinces and Census Metropolitan Areas
The number of regular EI beneficiaries decreased in eight provinces, with the largest proportional decline in Quebec at 10.5% or 9,400 beneficiaries. The province’s low unemployment rate, which continued to hover around a record low of 3.9%, was consistent with the decline in regular EI beneficiaries. Additionally, census metropolitan areas (CMAs) accounted for 58.1% of the monthly decrease in the number of regular EI recipients in January. The largest proportional regional declines in regular EI beneficiaries were recorded in the CMAs of Windsor (-14.2%; -500), Quebec (-13.9%; -800), and Oshawa (-13.5%; -400).
Decrease in Regular EI Beneficiaries Across All Major Demographic Groups
The number of core-aged people, aged 25 to 54 years, receiving regular EI benefits fell by 11,000 or 4.5% in January, accounting for more than half of the monthly decline. Meanwhile, among people aged 55 years and older, the number of regular EI beneficiaries fell by 1,800 (-4.2%) among women and by 1,600 (-2.2%) among men.
|Demographic Group||Number of Beneficiaries||Percentage Change from December 2022|
|Young Women (15-24)||27,000||-73.0%|
|Young Men (15-24)||31,000||-59.9%|
|Core-Aged People (25-54)||230,000||-4.5%|
|Women (55 and over)||41,000||-4.2%|
|Men (55 and over)||71,000||-2.2%|
The Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 5.0%
According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), the unemployment rate remained steady at 5.0% in January, just above the record low of 4.9% observed in June and July 2022. However, the proportion of long-term unemployment, defined as continuously being unemployed for 27 weeks or more, decreased to 15.8% in January from 19.9% one year earlier.
|Province||Number of Beneficiaries||Percentage Change from December 2022|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||5,800||-7.4%|
|Prince Edward Island||1,200||-8.3%|
In January 2023, regular EI beneficiaries in Canada reached a record low since comparable data became available in 1997. The decrease in beneficiaries was widespread across provinces, census metropolitan areas, and all major demographic groups. While the decrease can be attributed to several factors, including individuals finding employment, it is indicative of the current labor market’s stability and positive economic conditions in Canada.