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

  • Sales, profit at Sears in U.S. continue to decline

    Economic CTV News
    HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. -- Sears, the one-time standard bearer for U.S. retail, has posted quarterly losses for more than a year now, and sales continue to slide as the company shutters poorly performing stores. The company's cash situation, which has led in the past to clashes with suppliers, is an ongoing concern. Source
  • Stock markets in New York hit new record highs

    Economic CBC News
    Major stock markets in New York closed at record highs Thursday amid a broad rally from banks, materials and technology companies. The Dow Jones industrial average advanced 65.19 points at 19,614.81, while the S&P 500 added 4.84 points at 2,246.19, both hitting all-time highs for a second day in a row. Source
  • BlackBerry launches new security platform to help companies manage connectivity

    Economic CTV News
    WATERLOO, Ont. - BlackBerry revealed its latest security offering on Thursday intended to help companies reliably manage their current and future connectivity needs. The company's new platform, BlackBerry Secure, is designed to help businesses keep tabs on all their devices to transmit sensitive data to keep people, information and goods safe. Source
  • NHL won't change name of Vegas Golden Knights despite trademark denial

    Economic CBC News
    The National Hockey League says it won't change the name or logo of its newest club, despite being denied a trademark by U.S. authorities. Just a couple of weeks after the Vegas Golden Knights revealed their name, logo and team colours, the U.S. Source
  • Coke sets sights on new demographic: foodies

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- What beverage goes best with lobster rolls, a bagel sandwich stuffed with whitefish, or a bowl of ramen? Coke wants you to think of soda. Coca-Cola is trying to sell more of its flagship beverage by suggesting the cola can accompany a wide range of meals, rather than just the fast food and pizza with which it's a mainstay. Source
  • Overhead bin fees? Yes, with United's new 'basic' fare

    Economic CTV News
    United Airlines is creating some turbulence in the airline industry with changes to its fare structure, including a new “basic economy” fare. The cheap ticket comes with a catch, however: If you want to use the overhead bin, you must pay an extra charge. Source
  • SNC-Lavalin cutting 405 jobs in Canada mainly due to mining weakness

    Economic CBC News
    Engineering giant SNC-Lavalin is cutting another 405 jobs in Canada due to the weakness in the mining sector and ongoing efforts to boost its profit margin. Spokesman Louis-Antoine Paquin says the company will eliminate 186 positions in Montreal, 195 in Ontario and 24 in Saskatoon, says spokesman Louis-Antoine Paquin. Source
  • Public sector workers paid 10.6% more than private sector average: Fraser Institute

    Economic CBC News
    Almost 90 per cent of public sector workers have some sort of pension plan. By constrast, less than a quarter of private sector workers do. (Chris Wattie/Reuters) People who work in the public sector make almost 11 per cent more than their counterparts in the private sector, a new analysis of Statistics Canada data by the Fraser Institute think tank has found. Source
  • Toronto, Hamilton, K-W expected to lead country in 2017 house price gains: Re/Max

    Economic CBC News
    Re/Max sees the average national house price rising by two per cent in 2017, led by big projected gains in real estate prices in the Hamilton, the Greater Toronto Area and Kitchener-Waterloo. In its 2017 housing market outlook, which was released Thursday, Re/Max said it sees house price appreciation in Hamilton leading the country with an 11 per cent gain in average residential home sale prices, followed by eight per cent gains expected for both the GTA and K-W. Source
  • Number of new home construction projects dips in November: CMHC

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA - The federal housing agency says the number of new home construction projects dipped slightly last month. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts in all areas of the country fell to 183,989 units in November, down four per cent from 192,297 units in October. Source