Job Market Trends and News

Alberta EI rate drops 11.1% in 1st yearly dip since energy sector slump began, Stats Can reports

Alberta posted the biggest dip in the number of people collecting Employment Insurance benefits in May compared with other provinces, according to figures released Thursday by Statistics Canada.

In May, 72,000 people were getting EI benefits in Alberta, down 7.2 per cent from the previous month.

The job vacancy rate in Alberta also rose by 9.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 compared with last year — the first increase since the first quarter of 2015, the agency said in a release.

"EI recipients in the province have been declining since December 2016, coinciding with improved labour market conditions after the downturn in oil prices," Statistics Canada said.

EI beneficiaries Canada

Nationally, the number of Canadians getting regular EI payments has been declining. In May, there were 525,300 people receiving benefits. (Statistics Canada )

In Calgary, the number of people receiving EI dropped 1.5 per cent from May 2016 to May 2017, when there were 25,090 recipients in the city.

In Edmonton, the number of EI recipients was down 2.5 per cent since last year, with 24,600 collecting benefits in April.

From May 2016 to May 2017, the number of EI recipients across Alberta declined by 11.1 per cent — the first year-over-year dip since November 2014, when the energy sector slump began.

Statistics Canada noted the size of the decline is partly due to a spike in beneficiaries last spring caused by people having to leave their jobs as they fled the wildfire in Fort McMurray, and their subsequent return to their jobs.

More than a third of the decline in beneficiaries year-over-year to May occurred in the census area of Wood Buffalo, which includes Fort McMurray.

Nationally, the number of EI recipients was down 4.9 per cent from a year ago, led mostly by decreases in Alberta, Quebec and Ontario, Statistics Canada says.

In May, 525,300 people collected regular EI benefits across the country.

Published by The Star