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After 12 months of decline, EI numbers edge higher

After 12 months of decline, EI numbers edge higher

Posted on: 1/18/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

At the end of 2017, Alberta’s labour market had been making headway after two years of recession. But, new data suggests the path to a full recovery isn’t always straight or easy.

In November, the number of Albertans receiving employment insurance increased by about 1,120 people from October, an increase of 1.8 per cent. According to Statistics Canada, this was the first increase following 12 consecutive monthly declines.

The rise in insurance beneficiaries was driven mainly by Edmonton, where that number rose by six per cent. Smaller increases were also recorded in other parts of the province, except in Calgary, where the number fell by 1.7 per cent.

In the 12 months leading up to and including November, the number of beneficiaries in Alberta had fallen by 36 per cent, the fastest decline among the ten provinces. Over this same period, the province's unemployment rate fell from 9.0 per cent to 7.3 per cent. This vast drop in employment insurance is due to a recovery in Alberta’s labour market and a strengthening economy.

The downward trend in total E.I. recipients is expected to continue throughout 2018. But as today’s E.I. report has shown, nothing is guaranteed. Even though Alberta’s labour market continues to recover and more Albertans continue to find employment, the overall unemployment rate in the province will be sticky and will likely stay unusually higher than Alberta’s been accustomed to for the next two years. The province’s labour market is an important economic story to watch this year.

Employment insurance recipients, graph

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