The number of people collecting employment insurance benefits in the Ottawa-Gatineau region fell again in March, reflecting a downward trend across the country.
Figures released by Statistics Canada show the number of recipients on the Ottawa side of the region fell from 7,680 in March 2012 to 7,340 a year later, representing a 4.4 per cent drop.
The numbers were also down by 6.4 per cent in Gatineau, falling from 3,910 last year to 3,660 last month.
The seasonally-adjusted figures increased month-over-month, jumping 1.9 per cent in Ottawa and 3.1 per cent in Gatineau when compared to February 2013.
The number of people receiving EI benefits also fell nationally.
Statistics Canada says the number of recipients declined by 1.0 per cent or 5,200 people, to 523,700.
The number of beneficiaries was down 8.1 per cent compared with a year earlier.
All four Western provinces as well as Newfoundland and Labrador reported fewer beneficiaries in March, 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 rose by 6,800 or three per cent to 230,700 in March, partly offsetting a decline observed the previous month.
—With files from The Canadian Press