Last month, Statistics Canada updated data on employment insurance claims received by the various Canadian provinces. It now includes data for October 2021.
And what we see is that October had the largest number of EI claims received in Alberta for 2021: 38,910
The next largest number of claims was not far behind: 38,340 in May.
These numbers are seasonally adjusted and include both initial claims and renewal claims.
Alberta wasn’t the only province to see higher numbers either. Every province had higher EI claims received in October 2021 than they did just the month before.
|Sep 2021||Oct 2021||Change|
Not only that, but for every province but Ontario, October 2021 had either the highest number of claims received this year or the second highest.
Even then, October was still Ontario’s 3rd highest month.
None of this should actually be that surprising given that the Trudeau government cancelled the Canada Recovery Benefit that same month, making the employment insurance programme the only option left for people who are still unemployed because of the pandemic.
And there definitely are still people unemployed.
Here, let’s compare 2021’s EI numbers for each province with those of 2020 and 2019.
While numbers are significantly down from 2020, during the first year of the pandemic, they’re still up quite a bit over 2019’s numbers.
This table shows you how much higher the 2021 numbers are over the 2019 numbers.
Alberta’s numbers are nearly 50% higher than they were in 2019. Newfoundland and Labrador’s are still nearly double.
And it’s not just simply because there are more claims being submitted. There are literally more people still unemployed. Here, compare the number of people unemployed in each province in October 2019 (before the pandemic), October 2020 (in the middle of the pandemic), and October 2021 (the most recent data.
|Oct 2019||Oct 2020||Oct 2021|
And sure enough, even though unemployment is down compared to 2020, it’s still up from 2019. In fact, there were still over 227,000 more people unemployed in October 2021 than there were in October 2019.
However, what’s really intriguing is when we compare the number of people unemployed with the number of EI claims.
Here’s the number of unemployed people minus the number of EI claims received.
|Oct 2019||Oct 2021|
For every province but 3, the number of unemployed workers not receiving EI claims actually decreased, compared to 2 years ago. However, for Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC, the number of unemployed workers not receiving EI claims actually increased.
I wonder what that’s all about.