The non-governmental organisation Jordan Labour Watch (JLW) documented in a report released on Friday that the country’s economy lost 140,000 jobs in 2020, due to the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
JLW stated in the report issued on the occasion of International Workers’ Day celebrated on 1 May each year: “For the second consecutive year, the vast majority of the world’s workers have been facing one of the most difficult global crises. The world has lost tens of millions of jobs, and tens of millions of workers have lost their livelihood sources.”
The report pointed out: “Jordan was not an exception, as the unemployment rate increased in the last quarter of 2020 by 5.7 percentage points to 24.7 per cent, compared to 19.3 per cent” in the corresponding quarter of 2019. The report added that the unemployment rate among Jordanian youth increased at an unprecedented rate, reaching 47.8 per cent by the end of 2020.
The report stated: “The crisis has led to a decline in the livelihoods of tens of thousands of unorganised workers, active in organised and unorganised economic sectors.”
The report mentioned that workers were affected by the repercussions of the pandemic in most economic sectors, especially construction, agriculture, retail trade, transportation and all daily labour activities.
The organisation considered that: “The government response policies to the pandemic have led to decreasing the wages of hundreds of thousands of workers in the private sector, through allowing salaries’ cut-offs in varying proportions, which contributed significantly to the decline in their living standards.”
JLW called on the government to review its response to counter the impacts of the pandemic on the labour market, with a view to providing adequate protection for workers.
As of Thursday evening, the number of recorded infections with COVID-19 in Jordan had reached 709,817, including 8,801 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health data.
Since March 2020, the Jordanian government has resorted to a number of preventive measures, including the imposition of a general curfew on more than one occasion.
On Wednesday, the Jordanian government decided to lift the lockdown on Fridays, in the latest steps to ease the ongoing restrictions in the country.
JWL is an organisation that deals with workers’ issues and the labour market, in affiliation with the Phenix Centre for Economics and Informatics Studies.