09/11/2015 01:56 EDT | Updated 12/08/2015 01:59 EST

Alberta Group Layoffs Surpass 18,000 Employees

"Everybody's in survival mode".

To say it's been a bad year for Alberta oilpatch workers would be putting it mildly. Oilpatch layoffs, so far, have amounted to 35,000 jobs, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) has found, and now the total group layoffs in the province have surpassed 18,000 employees, according to data obtained by the Calgary Herald.

Pam Sharpe, spokesperson for Alberta’s Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour ministry, told the Herald that employers are required to give written notice to the government when groups of 50 or more employees are terminated. This year, through August, 81 notices have been submitted—totalling 12,302 workers. This number does not count layoffs of fewer than 50 employees.

The mass layoffs are starting to make Calgary's downtown feel a little empty. Deborah Yedlin, CBC's Calgary Eyeopener business commentator, said "they're calling them ghost towers," speaking of the downtown offices that are leased but unoccupied. "Everybody's in survival mode," Yedlin added.

A report by Avison Young showed an overall vacancy rate of 11.5 per cent for the second quarter of 2015 in Calgary.

Recent group layoffs include Tervita, PennWest, and ConocoPhillips.

Consequently, Alberta is now leading the country in unemployed workers collecting EI. In June of this year, Alberta EI claims rose 7.7 per cent over the previous month, with more than 22,200 Albertans cashing the cheques 7.7 per cent more workers, Global News reports.

Check out some of the major layoffs in Alberta's oilpatch so far:

Photo gallery Timeline: Oilpatch Layoffs Of 2015 See Gallery

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