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BC saw large Sept. increase in EI recipients

The number of British Columbians receiving Employment Insurance benefits spiked by 12.8 percent from August to September and was up 130.7 percent from a year earlier. That was the largest gain in Canada, after only Alberta, according to Statistics Canada data released today.

Across Canada the number of people receiving EI benefits rose by 54,300 people, or 7.1 percent, from August to September.

Employment peaked in October 2008, a StatsCan newsletter notes. The number of beneficiaries has since climbed rapidly, leveling off in recent months.

The leveling may be explained in part by the number of people who have exhausted their benefits. “The change in the number of regular EI beneficiaries is the reflection of various situations, including people becoming beneficiaries, and people leaving the EI system, either to go back to work or because they have exhausted their weeks of benefits,” the newsletter said.

“In British Columbia, 11,300 more people were receiving benefits in September, following decreases in July and August,” it said. “Since the start of the labour market downturn last fall, the number of beneficiaries in the province has more than doubled to 99,400.”

The largest employment losses in B.C. were in construction, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing and professional, scientific and technical services.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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