Employment insurance coverage in Alberta
The reduction in EI recipients reflects improvements in the labour market as well as benefits simply running out over time
By Rob Roach, ATB Economics 24 May 2022 1 min read
The number of Albertans collecting Employment Insurance (EI) continued to go down in March.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, there were 57,950 Albertans receiving regular EI benefits in March, down from 63,360 in February (-9%). This was the tenth monthly decline in a row. The number of EI beneficiaries in Alberta peaked in January 2021 at 208,240.
Nationally, 524,000 Canadians were receiving regular EI benefits in March, down from 564,620 in February (-7%). The number of recipients was lower in every province except Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. The number of EI beneficiaries in Canada peaked in May 2021 at 1,679,140.
The reduction in EI recipients reflects improvements in the labour market as well as benefits simply running out over time. The drop in unemployment has not, however, kept pace with the drop in EI beneficiaries.
On an unadjusted basis, the number of EI recipients in Alberta in March was 68% lower than 12 months earlier compared to a 29% drop in the number of unemployed Albertans. As a result, the percentage of unemployed Albertans receiving regular EI benefits went from 88% in March 2021 to just 40% in March 2022—a level more in keeping with the coverage rate that prevailed in Alberta before the pandemic.
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