Statistics Canada figures released Thursday show 43,900 people received jobless benefits in April, marking the biggest increase in the country for the fourth consecutive month. The number increased nearly 50 per cent over October, when the slump in oil prices that continues today was just starting.
The Alberta figures for April compared to March include:- In Edmonton, EI beneficiaries rose for the sixth consecutive month (up 10.4 per cent).
- In Calgary, they rose 9.3 per cent.
- In the rest of Alberta, the increase was 12.2 per cent.
Few other provinces posted notable increases.
In British Columbia, the EI number was up 2.4 per cent from March's level. In Saskatchewan, it was 1.1 per cent higher.
There was little change in Ontario and Quebec, while the rest of the provinces had fewer people on EI rolls in April than they did in March.
Across the country, there were 521,300 EI recipients in April, up 0.5 per cent from March's level.
There was a bright spot in the numbers, however, in that the number of jobless claims declined 1.9 per cent in April compared to March.
EI claims are an early indicator of who may go on to draw EI benefits later on.
In Alberta, the claims number was down by much more than the national average, coming in 8.8 per cent lower in April than it did in March.
That could be a sign the worst of the job losses have passed, as fewer people are filling out paperwork after recent layoffs.