25 September 2013

Employment Insurance Claims in Newfoundland and Labrador, 2003 - 2013 #nlpoli

Every day, in every way, things are better and better.

No, that wasn’t Inspector Dreyfus from the Pink Panther movies.  That was one of the key messages Premier Kathy Dunderdale brought to her fellow Conservatives at their earlier-than-usual annual meeting this past weekend.

With any politician, it is always a good idea to do a veracity check on any claims he or she makes.  One of the ways we could measure that claim of “better” is to look at the number of employment insurance claims filed each month.  Statistics Canada keeps records.

Newfoundland and Labrador still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country after a decade of the Conservative government.  So how are the number of EI claims doing?

You can find the employment insurance claims information in CANSIM table 276-004.  For these charts, we’ve plucked out the monthly data from April 2003 to the end of March 2013.

In the first chart, we’ve got the number of initial claims, by month.  The blue line shows the number of claims.  The black line is the 12 month rolling average.  In other words, it gives the average for each year.

Initial EI claims with trendline

There has been a drop in the number of claims on average, each year.  It’s gone from 8711 in 2003 to 7439 in 2012.  You can see that in the trend line and you can also see it in the peak months.  During the recession some of the worst months showed 16,000 claims and more.  The peaks through 2010, 2011, and 2012 was more like 12,000.

Take a look at the number of renewal claims, though, and things aren’t quite as neat.  A renewal claim is one that is reactivated from a claim that was started within the preceding 52 weeks.

renewal EI claims

Look at either the red line representing the number of claims or the black trend line and you can see there are more renewal claims these days than before. The number of renewals jumped upwards in early 2010.  While they have declined, on average, you can see that the current peak is still around the previous peak in 2005.