Only 1,900 people collected Employment Insurance benefits during the month of April in Prince George according to Statistics Canada.
Year-over-year the number of beneficiaries in the northern capital increased by 9% or 200 people.
Provincially, the situation was pretty much the same according to analyst Myriam Hazel.
“The number of people receiving benefits in British Columbia rose by 600 people or 1.1% in April.”
In BC, 53,180 people collected benefits during this time, which is a spike of 570 people since April of 2016.
The number of people receiving benefits decreased in four provinces, most notably Alberta (-3.8%) and Ontario (-2.3%), followed by Manitoba (-1.4%) and Quebec (-1.3%).
The national number for people collecting benefits in April was 541,150.
On the flip side, the number of beneficiaries spiked in Newfoundland and Labrador (+2.3%), Saskatchewan (+1.6%) and Prince Edward Island (+1.3%).
The number of EI claims made in the province also took a nosedive according to Hazel. “Claims in British Columbia decreased by 1.4% from April 2016 and this is the fourth consecutive decline on a year-over-year basis.”
EI claims in Canada shot up by 4.1% to 240,000 in April.
The number of claims increased in five provinces with the most notable gains in Newfoundland and Labrador (+39.8) and Saskatchewan at (13.1%).
Some recent changes led to the massive jump.
“This may be related to the fact that changes came into effect in July 2016 that temporarily provided additional weeks of regular benefits to eligible claimants located in 15 EI regions hardest hit by the downturn in commodity prices. In addition, to providing more weeks of EI benefits the changes included an extension to the period In which benefits can be received by up to 37 additional weeks,” says Hazel.
Please note that the number of beneficiaries reflects their personal situation including those becoming beneficiaries, residents going back to work followed by those getting regular benefits.