EI numbers inch lower in August but still higher than last year

The number of Canadians receiving jobless benefits ticked down by 7,900 people in August compared to the previous month to 536,800.

The number of Canadians receiving jobless benefits ticked down by 7,900 people in August compared to the previous month to 536,800.

That's a decrease of 1.4 per cent from July's level, but the figure is still higher than the same period a year ago, Statistics Canada reported Thursday

Most of the decrease came from Ontario, where the jobless rolls shrank by 3.9 per cent. That was the biggest decline in the province since April 2012. Quebec and Saskatchewan saw smaller decreases, at 1.9 and 1.1 per cent, respectively.

The figure increased by 5.8 per cent in Manitoba and by 2.6 per cent in Prince Edward Island. Everywhere else, the figure was largely unchanged from July to August.

Although the overall number of people receiving EI benefits went down, the amount of people applying for claims increased by 4.9 per cent to 242,400. The claims number is a leading indicator of EI numbers down the line because who file a claim may end up ultimately drawing benefits and being added to the rolls of officially jobless.

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