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Joined: 02 Mar 2009
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Location: Ontario

PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:39 am    Post subject: number of EI claims in Alberta hits near record levels Reply with quote

( looks like alberta continues down a downward spiral under the ndp , the big concern now should be what is going to happen to all these people when the EI runs out and they cannot find work , they might start to turn to welfare or simply leave the province )

Number of people getting EI benefits in Alberta hits near-record levels

Stuart Thomson
More from Stuart Thomson

Published on: January 18, 2017 | Last Updated: January 18, 2017 6:17 PM MST

Jeff Reinprecht says he hasn't worked since August 2015 and most of the job postings he sees are for low wage, low hour opportunities that don't justify the cost of child care. He's one of a near-record 100k Albertans now receiving EI benefits. Aaron Lynett / National Post

New data shows nearly 100,000 people in Alberta were receiving employment insurance benefits as recently as November, giving a clearer picture of the damage done by the recent recession.

Jeff Reinprecht says he has been unemployed since August 2015 when he last worked for Purolator and most of the job postings he sees are for low wage, low hour opportunities that don’t justify the cost of child care.

“I was getting paid pretty decently … for me to go back to work, it’s not feasible to go back without a similar wage,” said Reinprecht, who is receiving EI benefits. “There are a lot of jobs where you can make $15-20 an hour but for me to go do that and pay for child care, it just doesn’t add up.”

Reinprecht is happy being a stay-at-home dad, which made him realize he would prefer to find a full-time job that allows him to work with children, but said it just isn’t likely nowadays.

“If you want a steady long-term job, you’re probably not going to find it and I’m finding that in my own search,” he said.

The number of people receiving EI benefits rose to 97,000 in November, which is almost a 60 per cent increase from 2015. In December 2014, that number was below 30,000.

The amount of people receiving benefits in November was up 3.4 per cent from the previous month. Most other provinces saw those rates staying steady or showing modest declines.

The numbers, released Wednesday morning by Statistics Canada, represent some dreary milestones for the province. University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe tweeted that the number of people receiving benefits is the highest in at least 20 years.

Alberta now also has more people receiving benefits as a percentage of the labour force than the rest of Canada, a rare occurrence for the province.

ATB Financial economists said November was a near record-setting month, trumped only by July 2016, which spiked due to the Fort McMurray wildfires.

The numbers also show that Edmonton’s steady economic decline in 2016 continued late into the year. Despite being insulated from the recession’s early effects, due to major construction projects and public sector employment, the last half of the year saw Edmonton shedding jobs at a similar rate to the rest of the province.

The big increases in Alberta in November occurred in its two biggest cities, with Edmonton and Calgary both showing about a five per cent increase in people receiving benefits, compared to the previous month.

ATB Financial sounded a cautious note of optimism, noting that the benefits numbers are a lagging indicator, painting a picture of the economy two months ago. The numbers released Wednesday don’t take into account the pipeline approvals and rising oil prices that quickly followed.

The Bank of Canada’s Monetary Report, released Wednesday morning, said the downturn in the resource sector seems to have finally hit bottom.

“The scope for sustained higher prices is limited, however, because technological advances have contributed to lower production costs for unconventional oil production, notably shale oil in the United States,” the report said.

The bank’s new assumption for the price of West Texas Intermediate is $50, up from $46 in its October report. The bank expects consumer energy price inflation to rise temporarily due to rising prices, as well as Alberta’s carbon tax and Ontario’s new cap-and-trade plan.

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number of EI claims in Alberta hits near record levels

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