Numbers on EI swell – ROB – Numbers on EI swell: People receiving jobless benefits jumps 7.1% in September; Calgary, Edmonton lead year-over-year gains

Published on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2009.   Tavia Grant

The number of Canadians receiving jobless benefits jumped 7.1 per cent in September, reversing two months of declines, led by increases in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.

About 818,000 people got employment insurance in the month, marking a 63.5-per-cent increase since October of last year when the labour market peaked, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.

The report comes as Canada’s unemployment rate has risen to a near 11-year high of 8.6 per cent. The bulk of the job losses, though, occurred in the first five months of the recession.

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The number of people on EI has risen in all cities across Canada on a year-over-year basis. It has doubled in several cities, with the fastest increases in Calgary and Edmonton. It also more than doubled in Greater Sudbury, Vancouver, Victoria, Saskatoon, Hamilton and Kitchener.

New claims fell, offering some indication of stabilization in the labour market. Initial and renewal claims received in September fell 5 per cent and have been declining since May.

In Alberta, the number of regular EI beneficiaries soared 25 per cent in September. About 72,000 people in the province are now on EI.

In Ontario, the number of beneficiaries rose 9 per cent in September and has soared 76 per cent since the start of the labour market downturn.

Here are some of the cities with the biggest annual spikes in EI beneficiaries:.
•    Saint John 63.8%.
•    Toronto 86.9%.
•    Hamilton 116.8%.
•    St. Catharines–Niagara 87.4%.
•    Kitchener 116.5%.
•    Greater Sudbury 150.6%.
•    Winnipeg 86.2%.
•    Saskatoon 130%.
•    Calgary 375.5%.
•    Edmonton 289.6%.
•    Abbotsford–Mission 133.6%
•    Vancouver 148.9%.
•    Victoria 134%.

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