By Judy McKinnon

New and renewal claims for jobless benefits in Canada totaled 237,020 in September, down 8.0% from August, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.

The decline follows a more than 18% drop in August, which came after a nearly 31% jump in July when new legislative changes to Canada's employment-insurance program took effect. That change extended benefits in regions hurt by the commodity-price slump.

Year-over-year, claims in September were up 1.2%, but the agency again cautioned that historical comparisons are skewed by the program changes.

Job insurance claims are an indication of the number of people who could begin receiving unemployment benefits.

The number of people receiving regular jobless benefits totaled 571,800 in September, up 0.6% from August and up 5.1% from a year earlier, Statistics Canada said.

The job-insurance program changes extended jobless benefits in 15 resource-reliant areas of the country hit hard by the drop in commodity prices. Those regions included, among others, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northern Ontario and large areas of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Write to Judy McKinnon at judy.mckinnon@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 22, 2016 09:24 ET (14:24 GMT)

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