Drop in EI recipients points to better job climate

The number of people getting jobless benefits fell for the first time in almost a year in July and the number of new EI recipients declined for the second straight month, offering

The number of people getting jobless benefits fell for the first time in almost a year in July and the number of new EI recipients declined for the second straight month, offering further evidence Canada’s labour market is improving. July saw the number of workers on Employment Insurance benefits drop by 31,500 to 787,000, a 3.8 per cent decrease from June, Statistics Canada said. The changes reflect the slowdown in job losses as the economy begins to grow again in the summer quarter after three quarters of economic shrinkage in the recession and the painful restructuring in Canada’s auto and forestry industries that wiped out tens of thousands of jobs. But it was the decline in new entrants to the EI rolls that economists saw as the best signal of progress. Initial claims were down 8.5 per cent to 274,700 during the month, after a similar decrease in June, Statistics Canada said. “Less people are entering the system, so this is a good news story,” said Millan Mulraine of the TD Bank. “The pace of job losses we had a few months ago eased considerably and is declining, so that underscores the fact the labour market itself may be improving.”

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