The latest Employment Insurance report from Alberta shows a 5.2 per cent decrease in people collecting the benefits. Overall in September six provinces saw fewer people collecting EI and the national rate dropped by 2.2 per cent. Compared with 2016 that number declined by 12 per cent.
The number of beneficiaries in Alberta has been dropping steadily since “unusually high levels in 2016” according to Statistics Canada. Numbers are now on par with the previous high point seen during the 2008-2009 economic downturn with about 63,000 people currently receiving EI.
Statistics Canada also shows the number of beneficiaries in Saskatchewan was down as well. It dropped by 3.3% to 17,700 people receiving EI in September.
The national numbers have also trended downward since October 2016.
Stats Can says a number of factors can affect the number of people collecting EI including improvements to the job market, people can exhaust their benefits or stop collecting for other reasons. The number of EI claims decreased for a second month, falling 3.4 per cent September. The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries.
When looking at the age breakdown of who is receiving benefits across the country there was declines for core-aged (25-54) and older (55+) recipients but an increase for youth. The maritime provinces continue to see increases, with Prince Edward Island seeing the highest increase of all at 7.4 per cent.
Story by Tricia Kindleman.