Tuesday, July 28, 2009

EI stats can be misleading

But Dan Sumner, an economist with the Alberta Treasury Branch, cautioned that year-on-year comparisons of EI clams can be misleading, especially since 2008 saw historically low numbers of EI claims.

"When we make year-over-year comparisons, we're comparing with abnormally low levels which we knew were not going to persist in the long run," he said. "And now a lot of this also has to do not just with employers reducing employment but also with an increase in the labour force which has occurred over the last year."

Sumner said a correction in Alberta's labour market was overdue after the labour shortage of the past few years, and local employers now have some choice when they are looking to hire.

Newly out-of-work individuals must first submit an EI claim before getting approved to receive benefits.

The job losses in the province appear to be widespread across many sectors. Hardest hit are manufacturing; construction; retail and wholesale trade; professional, scientific and technical services; and the natural resources sector.

Statistics Canada will issue its report on June 2009 Employment Insurance claims on Aug. 25.

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