Troy Media – ATB Financial
Recent employment reports in Alberta have pointed to a strengthening labour market situation. However, a new piece of data released this morning paints a slightly different story.
In August of this year, there were 33,170 out-of-work Albertans collecting employment insurance benefits. That is a small increase from the 32,380 beneficiaries in July. However, compared to August of 2010, total claimants are down by nearly 28 per cent. The figures are adjusted for seasonality.
Nationally, the number of people receiving EI also increased to 568,600 in August, up by 6.6 per cent over July. Alberta certainly wasn’t alone; beneficiaries rose in every province, with the largest percentage increases occurring in Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.
Employment insurance claims, along with the monthly Labour Force Survey and the Survey of Employment, Payrolls and Hours (SEPH), give a snapshot of what’s happening in the jobs market. More Albertans collecting EI in August suggests that the jobs market is softening. That seems to run counter to the data from the other two surveys which point to a stronger job market in Alberta.
However, the report is (so far) showing only one month of increase – certainly not enough to indicate an upward trend. The small uptick in EI claimants in August is the first increase in a year, and only the second increase in nearly two years. Alberta’s longer-term trend in EI claimants remains solidly lower, reflecting just how much the job market as improved since the last recession.