04/18/2013 09:00 EDT | Updated 06/18/2013 05:12 EDT

Number of EI recipients unchanged in February: StatsCan

OTTAWA - Statistics Canada says the number of people receiving regular employment insurance benefits was virtually unchanged at 528,900 in February following three months of declining numbers.

However, the number of beneficiaries was down 7.4 per cent compared with a year earlier.

The number of people on benefits declined in six provinces, while there was little change in the other provinces.

To receive EI benefits, individuals must first submit a claim and the number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.

The number of initial and renewal claims fell by 15,200 to 223,900 in February, more than offsetting the increase recorded the previous month.

Quebec showed the largest percentage decline in claims in February, with smaller declines in claims in seven other provinces and little change in Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island.