The rate of unemployment was predicted to peak as the number of people infected with Covid-19 increased. A necessary quarantine ensured that people stayed safe in their homes, with a low probability of getting infected or spreading the virus. Many countries experienced a devastating outbreak and complex circumstances demanded that extreme measures be taken to curtail the virus. However, the expected repercussion of quarantine is deteriorating COVID-19 unemployment statistics.
According to The Guardian, an estimate of 3.3 million U.S citizens filed for unemployment, which was the highest rate since 1982 where 695,000 was recorded. The global unemployment crisis left small and medium enterprises shackled as the economy depreciated with irrevocable losses in the stock market. The COVID-19 unemployment rate is even worse for countries with a struggling economy where unemployment has always been a major problem.
COVID-19 unemployment statistics in Nigeria and other neighboring African countries remain unimaginable as most of their citizens thrive on SME businesses and local innovations. The unprecedented rise in unemployment coupled with the mandatory quarantine will inevitably lead to an exponential drop in food production, and other forms of revenue. Economists predict that less developed countries will rely massively on developed countries to make a comeback after the pandemic seizes.
Emily Kalu, a 25-year-old chartered accountant who is by profession a teacher in Abuja, was laid off days ago as the private school could not afford to pay teachers while the school was forced to shut down during the Coronavirus outbreak. “ I am not sure what to do, the whole city is being shut down including markets and small business, there is no help coming from our leaders and people would either starve to death or result in crime,” she told Health Invitro.
The United States, under the administration of Trump, softened the hit of the economic downturn on its citizens with a stimulus package of $2 trillion. This act of empowerment has also been replicated by other countries such as Canada and the UK. The UK released a $330 billion business loan, Canada released $20 billion for economic relief, Italy released $26 billion for relief with a rent and baby sitter package.
According to The International Labour Organisation (ILO), the pandemic could increase the rate of unemployment by 25 million on the minimum, which will add to the currently existing figures of 188 million.
As the rate of infected persons rises on a daily basis and quarantine becomes heavily enforced in many countries what is the hope of getting back to work any time soon? Where does it end? With food production, manufacturing, and other sectors completely dissolved, the medical sector, however, is overwhelmed with many cases of both Coronavirus and non-related issues. “there either isn’t enough doctors or there just isn’t enough medical equipment to contain the virus” an anonymous medical doctor stated Gwagwalada teaching hospital Abuja.
On a lighter note, some countries, such as the United States are making provisions for employment for medical practitioners with experience in the medical field to increase the ratio of doctors to patients. This provision would ensure better health care service to infected persons and to strengthen medical services in the states.
What does a fall in employment rate mean for a country? The economic consequences include the poor income for businesses, low GDP, decline in general economic activities, increased poverty in many countries worldwide, high mortality rate, an increase in crime rate, an increase in illegal migrations, a possible decrease in child education, and many other circumstances.
Covid-19 has had a great impact on the global community and the only way to recover, not only from the pandemic but from the economic ruin is to lend as much crisis support to other struggling countries. The damage may be inevitable, but it can be cushioned.