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For additional information relating to this article, please contact:

Thomas StorringDirector – Economics and Statistics
Tel: 902-424-2410Email:

August 22, 2019

In June 2019, the number (seasonally adjusted) of Nova Scotians receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits declined by 410 persons (-1.6 per cent) from the previous month to 25,110 and decreased by 2,150 persons (-7.9 per cent) from June 2018.  Following an increase through much of 2016, the number of EI beneficiaries in Nova Scotia has been trending down since the beginning of 2017. The June result is now the lowest reported level of EI beneficiaries within the current data series back to 1997.

The number (seasonally adjusted) of Canadians receiving regular EI benefits in June 2019 was virtually unchanged from the previous month at 442,580. The number of regular EI beneficiaries decreased by 21,280 (-4.6 per cent) from June 2018.

Year-to-date, the number of Nova Scotians receiving regular EI benefits declined by 4.8 per cent.  Nationally, EI usage has declined 6.6 per cent compared to the first six months of 2018. All provinces have seen declines in year-to-date EI usage, with largest declines in Alberta (-11.7 per cent), Newfoundland and Labrador (-10.0 per cent) and Saskatchewan (-9.9 per cent). The smallest declines occured in Manitoba (-1.3 per cent), New Brunswick (-2.3 per cent) and Prince Edward Island (-2.5 per cent).



The bulk of EI beneficiaries in Nova Scotia are aged 25 to 54, who also account for the largest share of the labour force.  In June, the number of beneficiaries aged 25-54 declined by 260 persons, month-to-month.  The number of beneficiaries aged 55 and older declined by 100 persons, and the number of beneficiaries aged 15-24 was down by 50 persons compared to the previous month.

Measured as a share of the labour force, EI usage is more prevalent among older workers (6.3 per cent) than it is among youth (3.8 per cent) or core aged workers (4.8 per cent).


The number (seasonally adjusted) of Nova Scotians receiving regular EI benefits in June 2019 accounted for 5.0 per cent of the total labour force. In Canada, the number of EI beneficiaries accounted for 2.2 per cent of the total labour force. 

In Nova Scotia, EI beneficiaries accounted for 76.3 per cent of the unemployed in June, compared to a Canadian rate of 39.7 per cent. Across the country, EI beneficiaries accounted for the highest share of the unemployed in the Atlantic provinces, led by Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island. EI beneficiaries accounted for the lowest share of the unemployed in Ontario and Alberta. 

Note that due to differences in estimation methodology, it is possible for the reported number of EI beneficiaries to exceed the reported number of unemployed in a given jurisdiction.


In the first six months of 2019, EI usage (regular beneficiaries, unadjusted) was up in Guysborough, Antigonish, Inverness, Richmond, Cape Breton and Victoria counties compared to the same period last year. Decreases were seen in all other counties, with the largest decline in percentage terms in Shelburne (-17.1 per cent).


Nova Scotia's EI usage by occupation (seasonally adjusted) is highest among trades/transport/equipment operators, followed by sales and service occupations, natural resources, manufacturing, and occupations in business, finance and administration.

Compared to January-June 2018, usage is up in business and finance (+3.6 per cent), art, culture, recreation and sports (+30.0 per cent), and in unclassified occupations.  All other occupation categories have seen a decline in the number of EI beneficiaries in year-to-date terms.

Legislative changes to the EI program came into effect in July 2016. While some of these changes affected all EI regions across Canada, eligible claimants in the 15 regions that posted notable increases in unemployment received additional weeks of regular benefits starting in July. More information on the 2016 EI changes is available on Employment and Social Development Canada's (ESDC) website. As a result of the changes to the EI program, historical comparisons are not recommended, except in areas outside of the 15 EI regions where eligible claimants received additional weeks of benefits. These 15 EI regions are Newfoundland and Labrador, Northern Ontario, Sudbury, Northern Manitoba, Southern Saskatchewan, Northern Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Southern Alberta, Northern Alberta, Calgary, Edmonton, Southern Interior British Columbia, Northern British Columbia, Whitehorse and Nunavut.

Source: Statistics Canada

Table  14-10-0011-01   Employment insurance beneficiaries (regular benefits) by province and territory, monthly, seasonally adjusted

Table  14-10-0337-01   Employment insurance beneficiaries (regular benefits) by province, territory and occupation, monthly, seasonally adjusted

Table  14-10-0323-01   Employment insurance beneficiaries by census division, monthly, unadjusted for seasonality

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