Labour markets in Calgary and Edmonton not yet showing signs of recovery
November data out of Statistics Canada revealed another 3.4% m/m increase in the number of Albertans receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits, estimated at 96,900. Most of that rise was attributed to gains in the Calgary (+5.1% m/m) and Edmonton (+4.9% m/m) metropolitan areas. Outside of the two major cities, the number of new recipients was about unchanged for the month.
Over a 12 month period, Alberta has seen a 57% increase in EI beneficiaries. November's EI figures are still below the July 2016 record of 103,000, which resulted from the Fort McMurray wildfires. As a point of comparison, the 2008/09 oil shock saw a peak of 70,000 EI recipients in July 2009. Prior to the oil price crash of 2014/15, about 30,000 Albertan normally collected EI.
Another 30,000 Albertans filed initial and renewal EI claims in November, down 3.3% from October but still up 30% from September. The relatively high number of new claims would suggest the number of recipients is not about to decline anytime soon.
Across Canada, a total of 574,500 people received regular EI benefits in November, approximately unchanged from October figures but up almost 5% from the same time last year. However, StatsCan attributes the 5% increase to changes made to the EI qualification rules last summer.
SOURCE: STATISTICS CANADA
STATSCAN EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE - NOVEMBER 2016
STATSCAN CANSIM TABLE 276-0022: EMPLOYMENT INSURANCE PROGRAM