Countries around the world experience the return of recession lead by the COVID-19 pandemic. The inevitable impact of an economic downturn is the surge of unemployment.
U.S. Congressional Research Service on 12 January 2021 noted that the unemployment rate during the COVID-19 pandemic is worse than during the Great Recession in 2007-2009. In December 2007, the unemployment rate increased from 5% to 9.5% and peaked at 10% in October 2009. Meanwhile, in the current recession, the unemployment rate increased from 3.5% in February 2020 to 4.4% in March 2020 and peaked at 14.8% in April 2020.
Statistics Indonesia (BPS) on 5 November 2020 announced that open unemployment in Indonesia had reached its highest level since 2011. In total, 9.77 million people were unemployed in August 2020. Furthermore, 1.7 million people have been furloughed. BPS also predicted that 12.7 million people would be unemployed in 2021.
Pandemic-fueled downturn makes household consumption drops significantly and finding a new job more difficult. Moreover, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported almost 40% of jobless workers in January were long-term unemployed, a period of joblessness of more than six months. The longer people are unemployed, the harder they will find a job. Another bad news, it would take approximately 29 years to heal the job market.
As Yanis Varoufakis said in Talking to My Daughter About the Economy, this unsettling situation will make millions of people sell their souls to evil, but even evil will not buy them. However, the human survival instinct will always find a way. Try these suggestions to survive without a paycheck during the pandemic until everything gets better.
If you are furloughed or even lose your job during this unpleasant time, you better prioritize the essential bills such as rent and electricity. Make a list of the bills you need to pay first. It would also be helpful if you eliminated the unimportant subscriptions.
Do not expect leisure activity when the economy is falling. The thing you should concern about besides bills is your food stock. Start controlling your food consumption and tighten your expense. Avoid more expensive food like meat. Try another protein source like tofu and lentils.
Maybe asking for a favor is embarrassing for some people, but you should take your embarrassment off in this hard time. Come to your lender and negotiate the rate.
Regular income and settle job sometimes make the workers unaware of their financial condition. Workers will consider having a healthy financial balance when an unexpected event occurs and makes them lose their job. Avoid this bad behaviour. However, if you are have been in a rough situation, start listing your income sources, savings, and asset. Be considerate of every penny you spend.
While controlling your balance, you better file for unemployment to get the benefit from the government. You have to apply even when you are furloughed. The Indonesian government has several aid programs that suit the unemployed. They are a pre-employment card program, basic needs aid, cash aid, and free electricity bill.
If you feel you can not survive by yourself, reach out to your family and friends. Admit that you need help and most importantly, knowing that you are not alone makes you feel better.
Coronavirus pandemic hit more severely to some industries, especially the leisure industry. The only jobs available are in essential business. Even though they are not the jobs you always wanted, you should be more passionate about keeping your stomach full.
While applying for the vacancy in essential business, you can try remote freelancing jobs, sell the items you no longer need, and spend time in online learning and tutorials. One thing you also should always remember, avoid high-interest debt.
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