Mario ToneguzziThe number of people receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits continues to fall in Alberta.

Statistics Canada reported on Thursday that there were 49,090 regular EI beneficiaries in the province in May, down 1,920 from April and a decrease of 4,120 from a year ago.

“The decline was similar to the one observed in April. In May, there were decreases in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Edmonton (-5.7 per cent) and Calgary (-2.9 per cent) and also in the census agglomerations (CAs) (-5.3 per cent), notably in Medicine Hat and Wood Buffalo,” said the federal agency.

“At the provincial level, the majority of the decline in May was among beneficiaries who had last worked in trades, transport and equipment operations (-6.1 per cent). Following a substantial decline in natural resources, agriculture and related production occupations (-12.0 per cent) in April, there was little change in the number of recipients who last worked in these occupations in May. Compared with May 2018, the number of recipients in all occupations declined by 7.7 per cent in the province.”

In Canada, 441,310 people received regular benefits in May, up by 2,020 from the previous month but down 19,630 from a year ago.

“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,” explained StatsCan.

It said the number of EI claims increased by 1.6 per cent in May  to 230,900.

“The number of claims provides an indication of the number of people who could become beneficiaries. Claims data pertain to initial and renewal claims received for any type of EI benefits, which includes special benefits.

“The largest percentage increases in the month were in Manitoba (+8.2 per cent) and Newfoundland and Labrador (+7.0 per cent). Claims also rose in Saskatchewan (+4.4 per cent), Quebec (+3.3 per cent), Nova Scotia (+2.4 per cent) and British Columbia (+1.9 per cent). There was little change in the other provinces,” it said.

“Compared with May 2018, the number of claims edged up 0.9 per cent, with increases in Prince Edward Island (+14.3 per cent), British Columbia (+3.3 per cent) and Ontario (+2.4 per cent). In contrast, there were declines in Newfoundland and Labrador (-5.4 per cent), Nova Scotia (-2.5 per cent), Saskatchewan (-1.4 per cent) and New Brunswick (-1.1 per cent). There was little change in the other provinces.”

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