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E.I. claims continue to fall

E.I. claims continue to fall

Posted on: 8/24/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

In another sign that the economy is gradually shaking off the effects of the recession, new data on the job market suggest fewer Albertans are collecting employment insurance benefits.

There were 69,740 regular insurance benefit cheques issued in the province in June. That was the eighth month in a row of declines, leaving claims at 15 per cent below year-ago levels. However, from historic standards the number of claims remains quite high (see graph).

Employment insurance benefits can fall for two reasons: people are find work or they run out of weeks of eligibility. The data alone do not tell us the reason benefits are falling. For that we need to look for clues contained in other labour market reports.

The Labour Force Survey, which The Owl reports on each month, is the best source of information about the number of jobs created or lost. This report shows that nearly 35,000 jobs have been added in Alberta since last summer, although perhaps lower paying and fewer in the private sector. The other major report, the Survey of Employment, Payroll and Hours, points in a similar direction.

We can therefore be reasonably confident that the primary reason employment insurance benefits are falling is that more Albertans are finding work. Although there’s no doubt that expired eligibility is also a factor. Nonetheless, with 7.8 per cent unemployment the job market remains a challenge.

EI recipients, graph​​

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