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Drop in EI beneficiaries slowing

Drop in EI beneficiaries slowing

Posted on: 8/23/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

​​Some economic indicators, like retail sales, may be reaching record highs but not all segments in the provincial economy are having the same success. The number of people receiving employment insurance benefits in Alberta was unchanged last month, coming in at 53,200 people. June’s EI report is another sign that Alberta’s labour market continues to experience bumps and bruises on the path to recovery.

According to Statistics Canada, Edmonton saw an increase in the number of people on employment insurance (+3.8 per cent). This number was offset by declines in Calgary (-2.9 per cent), smaller towns and cities (-3.2%) and more rural areas (-1.7%).

June’s total shows that the decline in Alberta's EI beneficiaries is slowing. Over the previous 12 months, the average decline rate was 2.6 per cent. Between May and June, the rate was -0.3 per cent. Recent job reports confirm this slow down and show signs of a weaker labour market, at least for now. Between May and June, the province only added 2,000 jobs. It lost 3,600 jobs in June.

Despite the slowing decline, the labour market has improved from where it was 12 months ago. Compared to last year, Alberta continued to have the fastest year-over-year decline in EI beneficiaries among the provinces, with the number of recipients down 25.7 per cent. The province’s average unemployment rate fell from 7.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent and it added nearly 35,000 jobs over the same period.

Ei beneficiaries, graph

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