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The Progressive Economics Forum

Black Day for EI in July

Today, Statistics Canada reported a large monthly drop of 10,900 for July in the number of Canadians receiving regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits. Its press release noted, “This decline brings the number of beneficiaries to a level similar to that observed before the start of the labour-market downturn in 2008.”

But the number of unemployed workers remains stuck at 1.4 million, far above the 1.1 million before the financial crisis. The federal government has cut EI to pre-recession levels even though the job market remains in recession.

The proportion of officially unemployed Canadians receiving EI is down to 36.5 per cent: 503,920 recipients out of 1,380,300 unemployed workers in July. That is the lowest level of EI coverage on record.

Today’s release also notes that the number of Canadians claiming EI jumped by 7,900 in July, further evidence of a weak job market.

How can the federal government justify its imposition of further restrictions on EI benefits this year, when more Canadians need EI and it apparently enjoys the fiscal space for a discretionary freeze on premiums?

UPDATE (Sept. 20): Quoted by The Huffington Post, Globe and Mail business briefing, and Regina Leader-Post.

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Comments

Comment from circuit
Time: September 19, 2013, 7:10 pm

Ha! Awesome title! Now, where’s my acoustic guitar?

Comment from Paul Tulloch
Time: September 20, 2013, 2:11 am

I take that as a reply to the Beach boys from Ian Lee, I will take Gordo any day over those so-cal dudes! I will be running these numbers by gender as I do believe the negative worker outcomes of lower unemployment coverage are heavily leveraged onto women workers- which is a disgrace as again Harper wages war on women with his austerity biased gender unfriendly reduction in the public service and the further dismantling of the social safety nets.

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