The truth about Employment Insurance

Somebody remarked to me one time that I was mistaken about the figures I use for Employment Insurance. In fact, they said it was ridiculous to think that over 100,000 of New Brunswick’s 350,000 working people would be on EI. That, he said, would mean that almost one in three persons are collecting EI during the year. He went on, when you back off all the government-related jobs (administration, health care, education, etc.) that, for the most part do not collect EI, that would mean almost one out of every two non-government workers was on EI. That, he said, was crazy.

Well, crazy or not, it’s true.

In 2003, the last year with Tax Filer data, 110,000 New Brunswickers claimed they earned EI income during the year. Now, if we back away the 7,000 women that had babies that year (yes, maternity leave falls under EI), that leaves over 100,000 people on EI during 2003. The total working population that year was just under 350,000 persons so, in fact, one in three and if you exclude government-related work, almost one in two workers collected EI in 2003.

Them’s the facts, sir.

Oh, by the way, the number of persons collecting EI is up since 2000. Population down, EI claimants up. Sound’s like a recipe for economic success to me.

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