St. John's takes the hit that it can take
Some truly astonishing statistics in the latest Statscan report on Employment Insurance, out earlier in the week.
Year-over-year, the largest proportionate increases in the number of EI recipients were in Alberta (+260%) and BC (+129.4%). Within those two provinces, Calgary (+339.5%), Edmonton (+277.4%), Victoria (+182.8%) and Vancouver (+161.6%) were four of the top five metropolitan areas for proportionate increases in EI rolls. (Windsor, Ontario, up 215.5%, was the only non-western city in that club.)
All provinces and and all metropolitan areas saw increases in EI recipients in May 2009 compared to the same month one year earlier. Newfoundland and Labrador's EI roll was up 20.1%, roughly on par with NB (+20.2%) and NS (+23.5%), but the "least bad" among province with the exception of PEI (+14.9%).
St. John's had the third-lowest increase among metropolitan areas (+31.4%), with only Trois-Rivières and Saguenay being less bad. This says as much about the denominator as the numerator.
The stats also show that, in the past year, the EI rolls have grown at a greater clip in St. John's than in the province as a whole. Subtracting St. John's from the province, the smaller centres and rural areas saw EI rolls increase by "just" 18.7% from May to May. This is consistent with a broader national trend, in which 20 of 28 metropolitan areas have seen their EI-receiving populations grow at a steeper rate than that of their respective provinces overall.