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Employment Insurance claims pause their decline

Employment Insurance claims pause their decline

Posted on: 9/21/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

After eight consecutive monthly losses, the number of employment insurance beneficiaries crept a little higher in July. That month, there were 71,460 regular insurance benefit cheques issued in the province. This was an increase of 130 people or 0.2 per cent from June.

In Alberta, the number of beneficiaries rose most in Alberta’s cities (+3.5%) while areas outside the province’s towns and cities grew a little less (+2.3%). The number of employment insurance beneficiaries declined in Calgary by about three per cent over the course of the month.

July’s E.I. numbers aren’t surprising. Up until then, Alberta’s job market had begun showing signs of real progress, but then the province’s job market hiccupped. In July, the province’s economy shed close to 15,000 jobs. In fact, the jobs that were lost were overwhelmingly full-time positions (-12,200). Unfortunately, that meant the likelihood of an increase in employment insurance was higher than had previously been the case.

For the most part, the overall decline in employment insurance benefits from the beginning of the year is due to positive corrections made by Alberta’s economy. Still, there is a chance that some of this decline has to do with some folks running out of weeks of eligibility.

Given these two things, the downward trend in benefits is expected to continue and is good news. However, as the latest report shows, the trajectory may not be a straight line. Many can take comfort in the fact that the primary reason employment insurance benefits are falling is that Alberta’s economy continues to improve and more Albertans are finding work.

Alberta employment insurance recipients, graph

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