The number of people who received regular employment insurance benefits increased by 4,400 in February, a rise of one per cent since January, according to new data from Statistics Canada.

Most of the increase was observed among those employed in manufacturing and utilities, which rose 4.7 per cent, while there was a smaller increase of 1.6 per cent in trades, transport and equipment operator occupations and education, law and social, community and government services. Art, culture, recreation and sport decreased 1.6 per cent.

Read: Close to half of EI sickness benefits recipients off work longer than help lasts

In Ontario, the number of EI beneficiaries rose by 3.1 per cent to 111,800. Despite this increase, the number of recipients in the province has been trending downwards since the spring of 2017. While there were increases across the province, the majority came from the metropolitan area of Oshawa, Ont.

Beneficiaries in British Columbia increased by 2.7 per cent to 41,100, continuing an upward trend led by the Victoria metropolitan area, while Albert saw an increase of 1.9 per cent to 51,600, with most of the rise centred in the Calgary and Edmonton areas.

In Nova Scotia, there were 26,800 EI recipients, an increase of 1.1 per cent, which shows the number of beneficiaries in the province virtually unchanged from last year.

The number of people receiving EI benefits in New Brunswick fell by 2.4 per cent to 28,700, led by the Saint John area, while Newfoundland and Labradors’ recipients decreased to 33,400, or 1.2 per cent, following a downwards trend that began in the summer of 2017. Prince Edward Island’s recipients were also down 1.1 per cent to 8,000.

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Across Canada, February saw EI claims reach 231,900, which provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries, noted Statistics Canada. On a national level, claims have risen by 3.6 per cent, with Ontario rising by 4.4 per cent and B.C. by 3.1 per cent.

Alternatively, claims fell in Alberta by 4.3 per cent, Quebec by 3.5 per cent, Prince Edward Island by 3.1 per cent, Saskatchewan by 2.7 per cent, Newfoundland and Labrador by two per cent, and New Brunswick by 1.8 per cent.

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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