The number of Canadians getting regular employment insurance benefits in May reached 778,700, the highest level on comparable records going back 12 years, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.
During the month, the number of people getting EI benefits grew by 9.2 per cent, or 65,600, from April.
"Since employment peaked in October 2008, the number of regular EI beneficiaries has risen by 278,300, or 55.6 per cent, with increases in all provinces and territories," Statistics Canada said.
Alberta showed the fastest increase, and that province, plus B.C., Ontario, Saskatchewan and Manitoba all recorded their largest number of EI recipients since 1997.
In Alberta, the number of regular beneficiaries grew by 16.8 per cent to 57,000 in May.
Statistics Canada also reported that following two months of small declines, the number of initial and renewal claims received rose 5.2 per cent in May to 332,800, also a 12-year record. Individuals must first submit a claim to receive EI benefits.