P.E.I. government officials say, contrary to their initial concerns, federal changes to employment insurance have not translated into more people turning to provincial social assistance for help.

The number of people receiving social assistance on the Island actually fell in the third quarter of 2013 when compared to the same period in 2012. Provincial statistics show a drop of 3.6 per cent.

Provincial officials say they aren't sure why there was been a decrease, but people who work with the poor on P.E.I. believe some Islanders have left the province in search of work.

"It's surprising first of all to hear that they have gone down, but in another way it's not," said Mary Boyd, co-ordinator of the MacKillop Centre for Social Justice.

"When you go around the province and go to meetings, one of the first things people tell you is that the young people are leaving in droves. In fact anybody who feels that they're eligible to get a job, especially in Alberta, leaves.  And this creates another set of hardships for families. People are living without one parent."

P.E.I. government officials say they will continue to closely monitor the caseload numbers.