Over 30 per cent drop since June, 2011
Canada is blessed with a system of social safety nets, and one of those used by many workers is employment insurance (E.I.) benefits when faced with a loss of work. Fortunately, fewer Albertans are tumbling into the net this summer.
In June, there were 23,880 people in Alberta collecting E.I. benefits (adjusted for seasonality). That is down 0.7 per cent from May, and a whopping 30.4 per cent from June 2011.
The decrease was widespread across the province. Statistics Canada reported this morning, “the number of people receiving benefits decreased in 11 of the 12 centres. In Edmonton, the number of beneficiaries dropped 37.8 per cent (year-over-year) to 5,900, and in Calgary, it fell 33.9 per cent to 6,500. Cold Lake, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Wood Buffalo also had year-over-year declines of 30 per cent or more.”
But even better, the downward trend is being enjoyed by workers in all age groups. The chart below (not adjusted for seasonality, so the numbers appear larger) shows how E.I. beneficiaries have fallen significantly for the majority of workers in the 25-54 age group. However, young people have also experienced a drop, as have workers 55 years and older.
The healthy economy is the primary reason for the continued downward trend in benefits as more Albertans are working than at any point since 2008. The rate of decrease in E.I. benefits may level off somewhat in the second half of 2012, however, as many other indicators (retail sales, for example) are suggesting the provincial economy is moderating slightly.
| ATB Financial