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EI claims decline into uncertain future

EI claims decline into uncertain future

Posted on: 12/18/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

​​Fewer Albertans are receiving financial benefits from Canada’s employment insurance (EI) program, suggesting Alberta’s struggling economy may be gaining strength heading into the new year.

According to Statistics Canada, the number of EI recipients in Alberta edged down 1.1 per cent in October, landing at 47,200. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of beneficiaries was down by 24.2 per cent, the largest year-over-year decline among all ten provinces. The decline in beneficiaries is not too surprising given the number of jobs added over the past twelve months. On a year-over-year basis, employment in the province has increased 1.8 per cent.

The number of EI recipients and claims are down significantly from when they reached a high of 107,000 during the pit of the recession in 2016. Still, not everyone in the province is doing well. Thousands of Albertans are still without work. The fall in beneficiaries and claims also does not take into effect the number of Albertans who are ineligible for benefits nor does it factor in those who have run out of eligibility.

The downward trend of recipients and claims will likely continue, at least for the remainder of 2018. Alberta’s economy added nearly 24,000 jobs in November, the best job report of the year. Although there continues to be evidence of an economic rebound, the future state of the economy remains unclear. In 2019, we could see the decline in the number of recipients and claims stall.​​

Employment Insurance, graph​​

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