The number of Canadians receiving employment insurance benefits rose 9.2 per cent in the year ending in November 2015, according to new data from Statistics Canada, with most of the newly unemployed in Alberta.

There were sharp increases in new applicants from Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba, bringing the total receiving EI to 544,200 people. The unemployment rate in Canada last November was 7.1 per cent.

About two-thirds of the increase in the past year has been in Alberta, with 31,030 people applying for benefits in the year to November.

The pain has been spread equally between Edmonton and Calgary, with just over 20,000 new people on the EI rolls in each city.

Alberta has suffered several rounds of layoffs related to the low price of oil, with companies cutting back first contract workers, then long-time employees as the world market price fails to cover the cost of crude production.

Job losses in Saskatchewan, Manitoba

There's been a 16 per cent increase among workers in trades and transport or equipment operation and a 17 per cent increase in natural and applied sciences, a term Statistics Canada uses to apply to more skilled workers including geologists and mine technicians.

Alberta has also seen job losses in finance, administration and management categories.

Statistics Canada says the number of new claimants has levelled off in the past few months.

Despite that, Saskatchewan saw a 4.6 per cent rise in claimants in November, Alberta was up 2.7 per cent and Manitoba was up 1.9 per cent.

The number claiming EI has dropped in Ontario and Quebec in the past year, but the population is larger, meaning there are still more workers drawing benefits in those provinces.

The total number of claimants in each province:

  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 32,980.
  • Prince Edward Island: 7,460.
  • Nova Scotia: 28,450.
  • New Brunswick: 31,440.
  • Quebec: 149,520.
  • Ontario: 144,610.
  • Manitoba: 14,990.
  • Saskatchewan: 14,900.
  • Alberta: 61,300.
  • British Columbia: 54,030.
  • Yukon: 830.
  • Northwest Territories: 750.
  • Nunavut: 380.