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Majority of respondents to economic survey indicate ‘weak’ financial prospects

By Bahaa Al Deen Al Nawas - Jun 30,2020 - Last updated at Jun 30,2020

The Phenix Centre for Economic Studies carried out a survey during the third week of June with the aim of revealing the repercussions of the government’s decisions aimed to prevent the spread of the pandemic during the past three months (JT file photo)

AMMAN — In a survey focused on the repercussions of the coronavirus crisis on economic conditions in the Kingdom, 8.7 per cent of respondents said they were fired or lost their jobs permanently during the time period from mid-March to mid-June.

The survey, conducted by the Phenix Centre for Economic Studies, an independent research institution, was carried out during the third week of June with the aim of revealing the repercussions of the government’s decisions aimed to prevent the spread of the pandemic during the past three months.

Its purpose was to reveal the impact of economic closures followed by the gradual reopening of various sectors, with data gathered using Google forms. In total, 1,656 participants responded between June 18 and June 22, three months after the beginning of the coronavirus crisis.

The results showed that 15.3 per cent of the respondents did not receive their salaries during the period covered in the survey, while the salaries of 14.5 per cent were reduced by 30 per cent, 13.5 per cent witnessed 50 per cent deductions and 5.7 per cent saw 60 per cent deductions. Only 20.7 per cent of respondents were paid in full.

The study also revealed that 21.9 per cent of the respondents were forced to take unpaid leave for the past three months, while 80 per cent of respondents indicated that they “did not benefit” from the Social Security Corporation (SSC) and National Aid Fund (NAF) social protection programmes.

Meanwhile, 59 per cent of respondents said that their financial situations are “weak” while 23.2 per cent described their situations as “medium”, 13.3 per cent described them as “good”, 3.6 per cent said they are “very good” and only 0.9 per cent described their economic conditions as “excellent”.

Among the respondents, 57.4 per cent pointed to expectations that their economic conditions will “become worse” in a year’s time, 24.8 per cent indicated that they will “remain the same” and 17.8 per cent said that their economic conditions will “be better” in one year.

In regard to the general economic situation in the Kingdom, 64.6 per cent of respondents described it as “weak”, 22.6 per cent as “medium”, 9 per cent as “good”, 2.3 per cent as “very good” and 1.5 per cent considered Jordan’s economy to be in an “excellent” state.

Moreover, 50.7 per cent of respondents forecast that the economy, in general, will falter in one year, 25.7 per cent noted expectations that it will remain the same and 23.6 per cent that it will improve.

Job opportunities are “very slight” according to 67.3 per cent of respondents, while 25.8 per cent said they are “slight”, 5.7 per cent used the term “average”, 1 per cent said that jobs are “available” and 0.2 per cent said that jobs are “very much available”, with 61.7 per cent predicting that job opportunities will falter in a year’s time.

As for the prices of goods and services, 43.7 per cent of respondents described them as “high”, 26.7 per cent as “very high”, 24.4 per cent said that they are “medium”, 2.1 per cent considered the prices “low” and 3.1 per cent responded with “very low”.

The study also revealed that around two-thirds of respondents, 67.1 per cent, believe that the prices of services and goods have risen compared with last year, while 24.4 per cent of respondents believe they stayed the same and 8.5 per cent said prices dropped from last year.

Meanwhile, 70.6 per cent predicted that the prices of goods and services will increase in one year, 21.7 per cent expected that they will remain the same and 7.7 per cent indicated that they will decrease, according to the survey.

The Phenix Centre also conducted a similar study for the period between mid-March and mid-May, with 40 per cent of respondents reporting at the time that one family member “had completely lost their jobs”.

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