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Statistics Canada is reporting that 598,400 people received regular Employment Insurance benefits in April, down 6,500 (or 1.1 per cent) from March.

It's the seventh straight monthly decline in the number of EI recipients.

The agency reports the number of beneficiaries fell in six provinces, with the fastest declines in British Columbia and Alberta.

The number of initial and renewal claims increased 2.8 per cent in April to 234,000 - the first increase after three months of declines.

The largest advance in the number of claims occurred in Prince Edward Island (up 5.2 per cent), Alberta (4.6), New Brunswick (4.1) and British Columbia (3.1).

The number of claims declined 2.6 per cent in Manitoba.