EI Running Out

The fact that 31,400 fewer Canadians received regular Employment Insurance (EI) benefits in July would be good news if it reflected an improved job market. But the Labour Force Survey indicates that, in July, employment decreased by 9,300 and unemployment increased by 17,900. These figures suggest that thousands of unemployed workers are running out of EI benefits without finding jobs.

With more unemployment but fewer EI recipients, the proportion of officially unemployed Canadians receiving EI benefits is down to 45% (i.e. 672.2 / 1,493.1). In other words, EI coverage is back down to pre-recession levels even though unemployment remains high.

While the number of Canadians receiving benefits declined, the number submitting claims increased by 6,200. That increase is consistent with the rise in unemployment and provides further evidence of a weak job market.

The federal government should renew the extension of EI benefits that it allowed to expire earlier this month.

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