There were 544,700 Canadians receiving federal jobless benefits in December, up 0.8 percent from November, Statistics Canada reported Friday.
That was a gain of 4,200 beneficiaries of Employment Insurance from November.
However, the agency noted, on a quarterly basis 16.7 percent fewer people were receiving benefits from the same quarter in 2010.
The national unemployment rate in December was 7.5 percent.
"The number of people receiving regular EI benefits in December rose in six provinces," StatsCan said.
Manitoba led with a 3.7 percent increase , the report said.
By gender, there were 16 percent fewer men receiving jobless benefits than a year earlier and 15.9 percent fewer women receiving them, the report said.