More Unemployment = More EI

For the first time in eight months, the number of Employment Insurance (EI) recipients increased in May. We already knew from the Labour Force Survey that unemployment had increased by just over 8,000 in May. It is good news that EI expanded by the same amount because it implies that those who became unemployed that month received benefits.

However, it is worth emphasizing that this EI expansion reflects worsening unemployment in May as opposed to a policy decision to improve the program. Unfortunately, EI has dropped off the Canadian political agenda.

By contrast, the US Senate just allocated $34 billion for a further extension of unemployment benefits. In some states, jobless Americans can qualify for up to 99 weeks of benefits.

The Government of Canada’s five-week extension of EI benefits, introduced in January 2009, is set to expire in September 2010. Even while this temporary extension remains in effect and even in those regions of Canada with the longest benefits, the maximum duration is 50 weeks.

Although the Canadian economy restored 372,000 jobs over the past year (June 2009 – June 2010), 270,000 more people entered the labour force. As a result, unemployment fell by only 102,000 and 1.5 million Canadians remain officially unemployed.

Persistently high unemployment should prompt the federal government to at least renew the five-week extension of regular EI benefits. It should also reinstate the special EI training benefits that ended in May.

UPDATE (July 24): Quoted by The Hamilton Spectator

One comment

  • from my blog…

    you might HATE the hard-rock data miners parody o statscan in the vid section
    Political economy
    pat donovan July 19th 2010


    I’ve got two words for the future, young man.

    Political economy.

    Political economy. You betcha.

    How ’bout a water import or export monopoly? How ’bout the pot concession at your local shopping center?

    Yasee, the feds can make or break WHOLE industries with a single reg… So get in on the ground floor now before it fills up with favorite sons, flakes and favors.

    Regs, taxes, grants, enforcement. It’s a whole new world.

    Run a data-mine snooping medical records… For fun and profit naturally. You do stats, they do collections and hiding.

    Plus the third world is interested in the easy way of curing things. Big-time, if ya see one.

    Maybe sell lists of grant-getting industries to China. The easy wipe-outs.

    Or keep private info that’s too touchy to save at home.

    Of course the whole sector is infested with politicians and bribery, It’s a place created by cannibals, for cannibals and the market is gonna be the same.

    At least you can get the competition taxed out of existence with no great sweat. Or reg’d out. Or out-grant them, if nothing else.

    Ah, the power of free money. More thieves than customers, but that’s pretty close to normal, eh?

    Especially if you’ve got water for desert Vegas.

    Political Economy, boy!

    Become a pol made-man… even if there are regs against you, nobody enforces them. A REAL get-out-of-jail-free card, eh?

    Well, nobody but the bag-man; you learn to hide any cash-flow from him.

    And the retiring parachute-generals looking for easy-street.

    The zombies are bonus. -comics -film

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