There were 2,000 people receiving employment insurance benefits in the Grande Prairie area in May. That’s an increase of more than eight percent from April, although the Statistics Canada data is not seasonally adjusted.
Accounting for seasonal layoffs, 77,800 people got EI benefits across Alberta, up 12.1 per cent. That’s the largest increase of any province and the biggest advance since June 2009.
Not surprisingly, almost one-third of the surge came from claimants in Wood Buffalo, which more than doubled as a result of the wildfires and evacuation of Fort McMurray. Year-over-year, the number of Albertans on EI is up nearly 59 per cent, while the GP region is up 77 per cent.