REGINA — Another sign of the growing impact of the oil price plunge on producing provinces was the sharp spike in the number of Employment Insurance (EI) recipients in Alberta and Saskatchewan in June, Statistics Canada reported Thursday.
“In Alberta, the number of beneficiaries rose for the eighth consecutive month,’’ the report said. “Increases were also posted in Saskatchewan (up 4.9 per cent) and Manitoba (up 3.6 per cent),” the federal agency said.
“There were more EI beneficiaries in Alberta for the eighth month in a row, up 7.7 per cent to 52,200 in June. Over the past 12 months, the number of beneficiaries in the province increased by 22,200 (up 74 per cent).”
Not surprisingly, the largest increases in EI recipients in June came from Albertans whose last job was in “natural and applied sciences and related occupations” (up 13.3 per cent), “processing, manufacturing and utilities” (up 8.5 per cent), or who last worked in “trades, transport or as equipment operators” (up 8.0 per cent).
For the eighth consecutive month, Calgary and Edmonton had more beneficiaries in June, up 9.2 per cent and 5.7 per cent respectively, than the previous month. In the rest of Alberta, the number of EI recipients was up 8.3 per cent compared with May.
“In Saskatchewan, there were 13,600 beneficiaries (seasonally adjusted) in June, up 4.9 per cent from the previous month. Both Saskatoon (up 8.9 per cent) and Regina (up 5.7 per cent) recorded increases. In the rest of the province, the number of beneficiaries was up 3.4 per cent.”
Regina had 1,660 EI recipients in June, up 90 from May and 310 from June 2014, while Saskatoon had 2,800 recipients, up 230 from May and 690 from June 2014.
Doug Elliott. publisher of Sask Trends Monitor, said that the number of regular EI beneficiaries with no income in Saskatchewan was 10,140 in June, up 33 per cent from a year ago and up 18 per cent for the year to date. “This is the most EI recipients we’ve had since 2010-11,’’ Elliott said.
Back then, the province was still feeling the effects of the 2009-10 recession. “It’s been as a low 7,000 a couple of years ago, so we’re back in the bad old days,’’ Elliott said.
With the number of unemployed in July up 53 per cent, “this is going to get worse before it gets better,’’ he added.