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EI numbers show economic strength

EI numbers show economic strength

Posted on: 4/19/2018 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Alberta’s economy has made real strides since the pit of the recession in 2016. One indicator of province’s economic strength is the decline in Employment Insurance (EI) recipients.

The number of Albertans receiving EI fell by nearly two per cent in February, marking a decrease of close to 1,210 people from January. According to Statistics Canada, this was the first decline in four months. The fall was seen mostly in Alberta’s big cities, where the number of recipients fell by a little over three per cent.

On a year-over-year basis, the number of beneficiaries in Alberta has fallen by 27 per cent, the fastest decline among the ten provinces by far. The province's unemployment rate fell from 8.2 per cent in February 2017, to 6.7 per cent in February of this year. At the same time, Alberta’s labour market gained close to 45,000 jobs.

The substantial drop in employment insurance recipients is largely due to the economic recovery taking place in Alberta and its strengthening labour market. The downward trend in total EI recipients should continue throughout 2018, though nothing is guaranteed.

Even though Alberta’s labour market is recovering and more Albertans are finding work, the overall unemployment rate will likely stay higher than the province is accustomed to for the next couple of years. That could result in a leveling off of EI claims instead of a constant decline.

EI Beneficiaries, graph​​​

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