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OTTAWA, Oct 22 (Reuters) - The number of Canadians receiving regular unemployment benefits decreased in August, partly due to more people going back to work, Statistics Canada said.
The amount of people that received employment insurance (EI) benefits fell 1.4 percent in August to 536,800. Still, compared to a year ago, that was up 7.1 percent.
Most of the decrease in August came from Ontario, the country's most populous province, where the number of beneficiaries declined by 3.9 percent.
In Alberta, which has seen the number of people on jobless benefits surge more than 80 percent in the last year amid a collapse in the price of oil, those receiving benefits edged up just 0.3 percent in August.
But the number of Albertans filing EI claims jumped by 14.8 percent in the same month. The number of claims is an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries. Overall claims filed in Canada increased by 4.9 percent.
Canada was in a mild recession in the first half of the year but growth is expected to resume in the second half, with economists pointing to the relatively resilient jobs market as evidence the downturn will not be sustained. (Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)