Unemployment Stats in PEI Shows Potential Devastation of Tory's EI Changes

| January 06, 2014


There has been a massive increase in the unemployment to job vacancy ratio in PEI. A year ago this measure was eight unemployed to every available job. Latest data shows there are a staggering 15.5 job seekers for every available job. The increase is likely related to the recent changes to Employment Insurance (EI) brought in by the federal Tories.


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Recent numbers released “Statistics Canada seem to indicate that PEI workers who are finding it harder to get their EI benefits are looking for work, but available jobs are not appearing.

The same number of people are working ~83,400, up slightly as there has been some job growth in the province. However, the unemployment rate has gone up from last month.

The reason for the increased unemployment is because more people are looking for work. This seems obvious, but the question is why are so many more people looking for work?

Given that other parts of the economy are rather stable (or getting better) it looks like the increase is driven by an increase of people who are no longer receiving EI. Those receiving EI is down 15% from last October, which is equal to approximately 1330 people.

One reason for this is that people have run out of their benefits.

In PEI, the number receiving EI is down 15% from last October - equal > to about 1330 workers.

The other thing that is likely driving this decline of unemployed receiving EI benefits are the changes to the EI system the Federal Tories have brought in. These changes are making it harder for these folks to get benefits.

There is also a gendered dynamic at play as women are down 20% compared to men who are down 11% from last year. Women run out of their benefits earlier because of the more precarious nature of their work.

Economic Impact

According to Statistics Canada, because PEI is a seasonal work force, $9 out of every $100 of income that Islanders earn is from EI.

Given this, PEI could be looking at about 1.35% pay cut to every working Islander and all because of the federal government’s changes to EI system and a loss of benefits for the longer-term unemployed.

A 1.35% pay cut to all Islanders means 1.35% less that people are spending in PEI which affects the economy and the provincial budget.

These folks have to find the resources to live somehow and it is likely they are turning to the provincial welfare system, family and friends, their own savings or debt. Either way, it is a ticking bomb for PEI’s economy.

It is clear that we are starting to see the rather stark negative impacts of the Conservative’s changes and gutting of the EI system in Canada.

The Conservatives need to scrap the changes and get on with progressive reform for Canadians that need a proper safety net. It is not the workers' fault they are unemployed if there are no jobs for them to fill.

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