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EI claims rise in uncertain labour market

EI claims rise in uncertain labour market

Posted on: 2/22/2019 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

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After seeing improvements throughout last year, the number of Albertans collecting regular Employment Insurance benefits picked up in December, jumping 2.4 per cent to end the year to reach a total of 47,800 recipients.

Before December’s rise, EI levels in Alberta had reached their lowest point since early 2015. Compared with 12 months earlier, the number of beneficiaries has actually decreased by 24.3 per cent.

The number of EI beneficiaries rises and falls based on several factors: the number of people who lose their job and qualify for EI; the number of people who stop receiving EI because their benefits run out; and the number of people who stop receiving EI because they find work. The increase in recipients in December is indicative of the number of Albertans who have been laid off, especially from jobs in natural resources and agriculture.

Alberta was one of six provinces to see an increase in EI beneficiaries in December. December’s total also marks the largest rise in beneficiaries in the province in more than two years, with the greatest percentage increase occurring in the areas outside Alberta’s cities and towns (+4.3 per cent). Statistics Canada notes this may be partially linked to the weaker oil prices seen last autumn.

The rise in EI beneficiaries to end 2018 isn’t surprising, given the unemployment rate increased at the end of the year. The number could tick higher as the province’s labour market continues its struggle to find traction.

EI, graph

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