On the occasion of World Labors’ Day, celebrated on 1 May, Jordan Labor Watch has released a report documenting the loss of 140,000 jobs in Jordan throughout the year 2020. The JLW’s report states that Jordan is not an exception, as global job losses from the coronavirus crisis have numbered in the millions, leading to tens of millions of workers losing their livelihoods.”
The JLW’s report has found that Jordan’s unemployment rate increased in the last quarter of 2020 by 5.7 percentage points to 24.7 percent, compared to an unemployment rate of 19.3 percent in the corresponding quarter of 2019. Additionally, the unemployment rate among Jordanian youth has increased at an unprecedented rate, reaching 47.8 percent by the end of 2020.
The report noted that the COVID-19 crisis has additionally negatively impacted the income and livelihoods of tens of thousands of informal workers, who are active in both formal and informal economic sectors. While workers in most economic sectors were impacted by the repercussions of the pandemic, some sectors in Jordan were particularly negatively impacted. The JLW found that workers in construction, agriculture, retail trade, transportation and day laborers were the most likely to have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, the JLW argued that the government response policies to the pandemic have led to decreased wages for hundreds of thousands of workers in the Jordanian private sector, particularly policies which have allowed salary cut-offs and reductions. According to the JLW’s analysis, these policies have “contributed significantly” to “the decline in living standards” experienced by workers in Jordan.
JLW is now urging the government to revise its COVID-19 response plans in order to mitigate the pandemic’s effects on the labor market and ensure adequate protection for workers.
On May 2nd, the JLW hosted a dialogue session on the situation of workers in Jordan after a year of COVID-19, which was viewed by workers in both the private and public sector, trade unionists, and civil society representatives.