OTTAWA—Statistics Canada says the number of people receiving regular employment insurance benefits edged down 1.6 per cent in January to 531,100.
The agency says most provinces had fewer beneficiaries in January, with the largest percentage decreases occurring in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick, Alberta and Manitoba.
The number of beneficiaries decreased slightly in Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Ontario, while there was no change in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.
To receive EI benefits, individuals must first submit a claim and the number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.
Nationally, the number of initial and renewal claims rose by 3.8 per cent to 238,500 in January.
The number of claims rose in Quebec, Ontario, New Brunswick and B.C., while claims fell slightly in Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia, with little change in the other provinces.