That is the official number of additions to the roll of employment insurance recipients in the Victoria Census Metropolitan Area (CMA), according to Statistics Canada.
The agency says 2,140 people received EI benefits in December 2019, the same number as the month before. Compared to December 2018, the number of recipients rose by 80.
The three CMAs in British Columbia — Vancouver, Abbotsford-Mission and Kelowna — all recorded increases, with Vancouver recording 340 new recipients in December compared to the previous, and Kelowna recording the largest percentage share increase of 4.2 per cent.
Provincially, the number of EI recipients across B.C. rose by 1.4 per cent to December 2019 from November 2018 and 4.5 per cent to December 2019 from December 2018, when the province recorded an all-time low.
The number of recipients has since risen with the increase concentrated in smaller urban centres, where the number of recipients rose by 6.8 per cent December 2019 from December 2018. During the same period, the number of EI recipients also rose 3.8 per cent in the rural areas. B.C.’s four major metropolitian areas recorded the lowest increase in EI recipients with 3.6 per cent.
Nationally, 448,000 people received regular EI benefits, down some 0.5 per cent, with the number of provinces recording increases (such as British Columbia) equal to the number of provinces recording drops.
The stagnation in the number of EI recipients further underscores the strong state of the local economy, as Victoria CMA recorded the lowest unemployment with Canada with a rate of 3.5 per cent, a figure considered at or near full-employment. But the figures also point to the duality of the provincial economy, best described as booming in the core, but struggling (in relative terms) in the periphery.
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