Alberta's labour data not getting any better
According to Statistics Canada, the number of Albertans receiving Employment Insurance (EI) benefits rose another 3% in October, to a total of 93,200. Most of the increase was in Calgary (+4.3%) and Edmonton (+3.2%).
The number of people collecting EI in Alberta is now up 55.8% from the same time last year, thanks in part to recent changes in EI eligibility rules that made it easier for Albertans to qualify for benefits. Although figures remain at elevated levels, the number of recipients is actually down from the July highs reached after the Fort McMurray wildfires.
The number of EI beneficiaries also increased in Saskatchewan (+6.0%), BC (+2.1%), Newfoundland and Labrador (+1.9%) and Nova Scotia (+1.9%). Quebec was the only province to see a notable decline, falling 1.8% for the month.
Some of hardest hit cities in October include Saskatoon (+9.4%), Abbotsford–Mission (+8.3%) and Kelowna (+6.7%). The worst hit occupations were natural and applied sciences (+12.8%), management (+10.3%) and business and finance (+10.2%).
Compared to the same time last year, the number of beneficiaries in Canada is up 31,400 or 5.8%. The number of new EI claims rose 12.8% in Saskatchewan, 3.0% in Newfoundland and Labrador and 1.6% in Alberta.
Average weekly earnings continued to fall in Alberta, declining another 2.5% (y/y) in October to $1,106 per week. Employment in the province is now down by 73,000 positions (or 3.5%) over the past 12 months. Albertans are still the highest paid in the country, although the average weekly paycheque is down almost 6% from record highs reached in January 2015.
Alberta's deteriorating labour market has left the national average salary basically unchanged over the past year at $954 per week.