EI: Is No News Good News?

Today’s Employment Insurance (EI) figures for April indicate essentially no change in the number of Canadians receiving benefits or in the number filing claims.

To put these flat EI numbers in context, April was the strongest month yet of labour-market recovery. Indeed, it saw the largest percentage increase in employment since August 2002.

In one sense, today’s numbers confirm what we already knew: April’s shower of jobs barely dented unemployment. Since the number of unemployed workers remained about the same, it is hardly surprising that the number of EI beneficiaries also remained about the same.

As before, just under 45% of officially unemployed Canadians receive EI benefits. (667,400 divided by 1,498,300 equals 0.445).

Continuing that low level of coverage is nothing to cheer about. However, it at least suggests that the trend of unemployed workers exhausting their EI benefits was muted in April.

UPDATE (June 21): Quoted in The Toronto Star

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