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Employment insurance claims drop in November

Employment insurance claims drop in November

Posted on: 1/25/2019 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

The number of Albertans collecting regular employment insurance benefits dropped again in November, falling to 46,130. That’s the lowest level since March 2015, and a drop of 27 per cent from a year ago.

But the falling number masks a more serious problem. It’s true that some people stop receiving benefits because they find a job. However, others drop off the list of claimants because they’ve exhausted their weeks of eligibility.

Compared with other provinces, Alberta is faring decently. The chart below shows the number of people collecting employment insurance benefits as a percentage of the total labour force. With only 1.8 per cent of participants in the workforce receiving employment insurance cheques, Alberta ranks third lowest, after British Columbia and Ontario.

Saskatchewan (2.4 per cent), Quebec (2.4 per cent) and Manitoba (2.2 per cent) all rank higher, as do all four Atlantic provinces, where chronic unemployment is a problem.

Employment insurance figures provide another piece of the puzzle when examining the overall job market and gauging the health of the economy. Fewer recipients in Alberta is good, but new jobs are coming back more gradually, meaning many former E.I. recipients are neither working nor collecting benefits.

EI claimants in Alberta, graph

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