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The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits fell by 3 per cent in March to 606,200.

It was the sixth straight monthly decline.

Statistics Canada reports the number receiving benefits was down in every province, with the fastest declines coming in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and British Columbia.

The agency says 226,600 initial and renewal claims were received, down 4.4 per cent (10,400) from February and the largest of three consecutive declines.

That's the lowest number of claims since August 2008, just before the labour market downturn.

The fastest declines occurred in Alberta (down 7.2 per cent) and Saskatchewan (down 5.4).