The number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits increased in January across Alberta, including the Calgary and Edmonton regions, according to Statistics Canada.
“This was the third consecutive monthly increase in the province and coincided with ongoing weakness in the oil industry. This increase was also spread across most occupational groups, notably natural and applied science occupations (+10.9 per cent) and natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations (+9.5 per cent),” said the federal agency on Thursday.
“Despite the recent increases, Alberta had fewer beneficiaries on a year-over-year basis (-19.6 per cent) and (Labour Force Survey) data show the province’s unemployment rate was little changed compared with 12 months earlier at 6.8 per cent.”
StatsCan said EI beneficiaries grew by 2,080 in Alberta on a month-over-month basis and they were up 810 in the Calgary census metropolitan area and by 340 in the Edmonton census metropolitan area.
However, on an annual basis they fell by 12,420 in Alberta, by 5,310 in Calgary and by 3,810 in Edmonton.
The number of people receiving regular EI benefits in Canada was down 9,810 from December. On a year-over-year basis, the number of EI beneficiaries in Canada was down 60,080.
“In general, variations in the number of beneficiaries can reflect changes in the circumstances of different groups, including those becoming beneficiaries, those going back to work, those exhausting their regular benefits, and those no longer receiving benefits for other reasons,” said the federal agency.
In January, the number of EI claims decreased by 1.0 in Canada. The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries. There was little change in Alberta.
Compared with January 2018, the number of claims fell by 1.4 per cent at the national level. In Alberta, claims rose by 10 per cent from a year ago.
Mario Toneguzzi is a Troy Media business reporter based in Calgary. He writes for Calgary’s Business.