EI claims show recession’s bite

The worst recession in decades is not choosing favourites, hammering Canadian workers regardless of where they live, new data on employment insurance payouts show.

OTTAWA — The worst recession in decades is not choosing favourites, hammering Canadian workers regardless of where they live, new data on employment insurance payouts show.

The number of Canadians collecting jobless benefits jumped 7.8 per cent to 610,200 in February, the highest level in more than 10 years, reflecting the massive job losses of recent months.

But unlike in the past two recessions, which hit Canada’s manufacturing base hardest, this time workers from coast to coast are taking body blows.

Statistics Canada notes the number of people on EI has risen 21.8 per cent since October, when employment losses began, with all regions showing increases.

Hardest hit in percentage terms were western provinces Alberta and British Columbia, followed by Ontario.

Since October, Alberta has seen a 67.9 per cent increase in beneficiaries, while payouts jumped 39.8 per cent in British Columbia and 28.6 per cent in Ontario, many in the auto sector.

The rise in EI recipients reflects an economy that has shed 357,000 jobs since October, said Benjamin Tal, a senior economist with CIBC World Markets

“It’s like somebody turned off the light in October of 2008, and this is not the end of the labour market pain,” he said.

“The West is suffering from the global recession and Central Canada is suffering from the U.S. recession. The commodity collapse is clearly hurting the West in a significant way, while the slowing auto sector in the U.S. is clearly hurting Ontario’s manufacturing sector.”

In a report being released Wednesday morning, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives argues that job losses are happening at a time when Canadians can least afford to be without work.

The report notes that personal savings rates are low, household debt is at record levels, and EI pays less than during the recessions of the early 1980s and 1990s, while covering fewer of the jobless.

Just Posted

NDP won’t stop until Trans Mountain is built, says minister

Deron Bilous speaks at Red Deer chamber luncheon

Red Deer officials will allow Calgary to trial alcohol in parks

The result could determine if local rules are relaxed

$25-a-day child care in high demand in Red Deer

Red Deer Child Care Society hopes program will expand

Red Deer city council could provide more clarity around closed-door meetings, says review

Confidential matters were found to be handled appropriately by city

Special lift improves Lacombe patients’ therapy

A new mobility lift is helping physical therapy patients at Lacombe Hospital… Continue reading

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

WestJet plane heading to Victoria slides off Edmonton runway, no injuries

EDMONTON — A WestJet plane has slid off an icy taxiway at… Continue reading

Sam Bennett scores twice, Flames beat Red Wings 6-4

Flames 6, Red Wings 4 CALGARY — Sam Bennett scored twice including… Continue reading

Rare ‘super blood wolf moon’ takes to the skies this Sunday

Celestial event happens only three times this century

Fashion Fridays: Inspirational gym outfits

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Company issues lifetime ban after man jumps from cruise ship

Nick Naydev posted the video last week showing him standing on the balcony of the Symphony of the Seas

Unruly passenger forces B.C.-bound flight to divert to Calgary

Police say charges are pending against a woman in her 40s

Inflation rises as higher airfares, veggie prices offset cheaper gas

Statistics Canada says inflation accelerated to two per cent in December

Canadian tattoo artist inks Toronto skyline on Blue Jays pitcher Stroman

Marcus Stroman found a way to show his appreciation for Toronto when… Continue reading

Most Read