May 24, 2013 01:20 PM EDT

Employment Insurance Recipients Decline For Fifth Straight Month

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The number of Canadians receiving jobless benefits dropped by 1 percent in March from the previous month, Statistics Canada said on Friday.

Statistics Canada says  it continued to trend down for a fifth consecutive month in March.  The number of recipients declined by 1.0 per cent or 5,200 people, to 523,700.

From the year-ago month, the total number of beneficiaries fell 8.1 percent, or by 46,390, the Ottawa-based agency said today.

All four Western provinces as well as Newfoundland and Labrador reported fewer beneficiaries in March, while there was little change in the other provinces, according to the Canadian Press.

In order to qualify and receive Employment Insurance 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 rose by 6,800 or 3.0 per cent to 230,700 in March, partly offsetting a decline observed the previous month.

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