Alberta is largely responsible for a more than four per cent increase in regular employment insurance (EI) beneficiaries over the past year.
Figures from Statistics Canada show a year-over-year increase of 23-thousand, largely due to increases in Alberta throughout 2016. The number of EI recipients in this province rose 1.7 per cent in December.
The increase of 17-hundred was the third month in a row that the number of EI recipients in the province has risen.
At 97, 900 the number is the highest since 1997, excluding July 2016, when EI rules were changed due to the Fort McMurray wildfire.
Calgary saw a 4.1 per cent increase in EI recipients from November to December. Edmonton’s increase was 1.5 per cent, while the number of beneficiaries in rural areas dropped by 1.5 per cent.
Overall, the number of beneficiaries across the country dropped to 0.6 per cent in December to 568,800.