March 24, 2009

Canadian unemployed claims up in January

The number of unemployed Canadians receiving federal Employment Insurance rose 4.4 percent to 560,400 in January, Statistics Canada reported Tuesday.

There were 23,700 new claimants since December, particularly in Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario, the agency said.

In Alberta, 23,300 people were receiving regular EI benefits in January, up 10.5 percent from December, StatsCan said. British Columbia had 56,100 beneficiaries, up 9 percent, while Ontario had 181,500, a 6.2 percent increase.

Regionally, the ongoing automotive manufacturing crisis hit several southern Ontario cities hard in the last 12-month period, the report said. In the border city of Windsor, the number of regular beneficiaries rose 81.6 percent to 10,600. London saw a 70.3 percent jump in claims while Kitchener climbed 70 percent, the report said.

Elsewhere in the past 12 months, jobless claims rose in Calgary, Alberta, by 61.7 percent, Vancouver, British Columbia, by 55 percent and Edmonton, Alberta, by 48.9 percent, the agency said.

Further EI increases are expected in the agency's February report, as national unemployment rose to 7.7 percent last month.