Alberta EI recipients double amid mounting job losses

CALGARY -- The number of Albertans receiving employment insurance has doubled in a year, Statistics Canada said Thursday in the latest sign of the province's economic struggles driven by falling oil prices.

See Full Article

About 62,500 people in the province were on EI in December, up from the 31,200 who were receiving jobless benefits from the same month a year earlier, the federal agency said.

Sean Murray, a 42-year-old father of two preschoolers in Red Lake, Alta., says he's been applying to any job openings he can find after losing his pipefitting job for the second time in December.

"Mining jobs, construction jobs, gravel pit jobs, civil jobs, oilpatch jobs," Murray said. "Like everything and anything."

He said sent out more than 200 resumes but hasn't found work since, so in January he signed on for EI. He says he's getting 22 weeks of support at about $1,000 every two weeks for his family.

"Which just pays for rent, food, and a few bills," he said. "It doesn't cover all my bills, but at least I'm able to have a roof over my head."

Alberta's growing EI numbers in December accounted for about 90 per cent of the 7.3 per cent increase nationally, pushing the total number of EI recipients to 539,800 across Canada.

The province's oil-reliant neighbour Saskatchewan saw a 38 per cent increase in EI compared to December 2014. Newfoundland and Labrador saw an 11 per cent rise, making up much of the rest of the overall national jump.

While the EI numbers have climbed significantly in Alberta, they still only account for 2.5 per cent of the labour force, below the national average of about 2.8 per cent, says University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe.

"Things are getting worse in Alberta, but they were getting worse from a very good situation," said Tombe.

"The increase in employment insurance claims that we've seen have brought us closer to, but we're still under, the national average. So it's not as though the sky is falling."

He pointed to the 2008-2009 downturn, when Alberta saw EI ranks increase by about 50,000 people.

According to Statistics Canada, there were 20,490 people on EI in September 2008. A year later that soared to 71,100.

Alberta's unemployment rate reached 7.4 per cent in January, up from 4.6 per cent a year earlier. Its the highest unemployment rate for the province in 20 years and the first time since 1988 that Alberta had a higher rate than the national average.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Canada open to completing NAFTA talks in short order

    Economic CBC News
    Canadian negotiators are open to working on a timeline proposed by the U.S. to complete NAFTA renegotiations before the end of the year, CBC News has learned. A government source, speaking on background, tells CBC News that Canada is willing to work quickly, but will not agree to a bad deal for the sake of meeting a deadline. Source
  • U.S. wants NAFTA talks to wrap up before year's end, but is it possible?

    Economic CBC News
    Canadian negotiators are open to working on a timeline proposed by the U.S. to complete NAFTA renegotiations before the end of the year, CBC News has learned. A government source, speaking on background, tells CBC News that Canada is willing to work quickly, but will not agree to a bad deal for the sake of meeting a deadline. Source
  • B.C. premier and jobs minister sued by fired LNG advocate claiming $5M

    Economic CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- British Columbia's fired liquefied natural gas advocate is suing Premier John Horgan, the province's jobs minister and a New Democrat MP in a lawsuit claiming $5 million in damages. Gordon Wilson alleges in a statement of claim filed in B.C. Source
  • Millennials in Atlantic Canada most optimistic about owning homes

    Economic CTV News
    Do millennials think they can afford to buy a home? If they live in Atlantic Canada, the answer is a lot more likely to be yes. That’s according to a new online survey of 1,000 Canadians aged 25 to 30, conducted by Leger Marketing from real estate firm Royal LePage. Source
  • Can millennials afford to buy a home? It depends where they live

    Economic CTV News
    Do millennials think they can afford to buy a home? If they live in Atlantic Canada, the answer is a lot more likely to be yes. That’s according to a new online survey of 1,000 Canadians aged 25 to 30, conducted by Leger Marketing from real estate firm Royal LePage. Source
  • $500K hardship fund for former Sears Canada employees approved by judge

    Economic CBC News
    A judge has approved a hardship fund for former Sears Canada employees that will come from a pool of money set aside to pay bonuses for key employees. The $500,000 fund will help former employees facing difficulty who would have otherwise been eligible for severance payments when they lost their jobs at the retailer. Source
  • Elevated testosterone linked to 'reckless' financial trading, study finds

    Economic CBC News
    It's no secret financial traders have always been predominately male. So, when a group of researchers with the Ivey Business School at Western University in London, Ont., set out to at look at the role of testosterone on the markets, it wasn't a far-flung idea. Source
  • Brazil to ask for WTO panel to settle dispute over Bombardier subsidies

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Brazil says it will ask the World Trade Organization to establish a dispute settlement panel after consultations with Canada failed to resolve its complaint about government subsidies to aircraft manufacturer Bombardier. The South American country said it will ask the WTO to examine more than 20 subsidy programs granted to the Montreal-based company for the development of its CSeries aircraft. Source
  • Bombardier employee in Swedish unit charged with bribery

    Economic CBC News
    A Russian employee in the Swedish branch of Canadian plane and train maker Bombardier was charged Friday with aggravated bribery and faces up to six years in jail and deportation if found guilty. Swedish prosecutor Thomas Forsberg alleges Evgeny Pavlov bribed a public servant in Azerbaijan to win a $340-million contract for a new signalling system. Source
  • Bombardier says Russian worker charged with bribery doesn't reflect its values

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Bombardier says the filing of formal criminal charges in Sweden on Friday against a railway employee doesn't reflect its values. "We take these allegations very seriously as they assert conduct that does not reflect our values or the high standards we set for ourselves, our employees and our partners," the Montreal-based company (TSX:BBD.B) said in a statement. Source