February 17, 2017 11:38 am

Slight dip in the number of Saskatchewan EI recipients during December

The number of people in Saskatchewan receiving EI benefits during December dipped slightly, but numbers are up 30.4 per cent from the previous year due to two factors.

Sheila Boardman / The Canadian Press Images
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The number of people receiving employment insurance in Saskatchewan during December 2016 dropped slightly from the previous month.

Statistics Canada reported on Thursday that 20,150 people were receiving regular income benefits during the month, down 750 from November.

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READ MORE: Saskatchewan employment insurance beneficiaries up 37% in November 2016

The agency said there were decreases across the province, with the number of people receiving EI down in both Saskatoon and Regina.

In Saskatoon, 4,860 people were receiving benefits, a decrease of 5.8 per cent from the previous month, while there was a 6.1 per cent decrease in Regina to 2,170 people.

On a year-over-year basis, the number of beneficiaries in Saskatchewan was up 30.4 per cent.

Analysts with Statistics Canada said the increase likely reflects two factors that happened in 2016.

The first was an increase in the unemployment rate in the province, which was 6.6 per cent based on the labour market survey.

The other factor was legislative changes made in July 2016 to the EI program for regions affected by a downturn in global commodity prices.

READ MORE: 5 things to know about changes to employment insurance program

This change extended the time EI benefits could be received by five weeks, up to a maximum of 50 weeks, and an additional 20 weeks of regular benefits to long-tenured workers, to a maximum of 70 weeks.

Nearly 80 per cent of Saskatchewan was designated an affected region by the legislative change.

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