I want to clear up an important statistic. People are now widely using the 110,000 figure to talk about the number of NBers who collect Employment Insurance each year. That is the correct number but there are two points to keep in mind. One, that includes everyone that received money from the EI program including maternity and paternity leave – although the number of folks under this part of the program would be limited – likely well below 10,000 – because we aren’t having that many new babies each year.
The bigger error is to use the 110,000 and the 350,000 in the same sentence. In other words, people take the employment number from the labour force survey (in 2011 around 350,000) and they say that 110,000 of those collect EI.
That is incorrect. The 350,000 is the average monthly employment during the year (i.e. when the surveyors call). Over the course of the year, upwards of 480,000 New Brunswickers will earn some amount of employment income (including students) but given the high level of seasonal employment (hence the importance of the EI conversation), there is a big spread between those collecting employment income and the average monthly employment level.
So when I say that 32% of NBers outside of Moncton and Saint John collected EI in 2009, that is a correct statement but in Moncton and Saint John it was close to the national average of around 17 % of all persons who collected employment income.
It’s important to talk apples to apples when looking at numbers.