While Jordanians continue to lead their lives uninterrupted by curfew measures throughout the 4th quarter of 2021, the
Jordanian Consumer Sentiment Index witnessed no notable improvement compared to the third quarter of 2021, resembling the Sentiment Index at the global level which also remained stable between the 3rd and the 4th quarters of 2021. In fact, Jordan’s sentiment index continues to perform below pre-COVID-19 average values and currently sits alongside Turkey and Argentina amongst the bottom three countries where Ipsos conducts the sentiment index survey. Unsurprisingly, this has meant that Jordanians felt less confident about the overall state of the economy in Jordan, such that positive sentiments towards the “Current State of The Economy” index have dropped by 3.7 percentage points during the 4th quarter of 2021.
Adding to the worries, Jordanians are feeling even less confident about their future. Confidence in the future state of the
economy has dropped by 6.6 percentage points during Q4, driving with it a drop in confidence towards job security, as well as a drop in Jordanians’ confidence about their ability to invest in their future and the future of their children. Such sentiments are also reiterated by economic experts, arguing that the latest Global Economic Prospect report issued by the World Bank which forecasts “no acceleration of economic growth in Jordan during 2022 due to debts”, is likely to be very accurate.
The survey wasn’t all bad news, though. Notable improvements were witnessed in the current state of employment, such that reported job losses decreased by 7 percentage points and reported salary cuts due to COVID-19 dropped by 8 percentage points triggering, in turn, a slight improvement in consumers’ current personal financial situation and their ability to make personal purchases during the recent period. While this improvement affected many demographic groups, females and lower age groups (18-24) have not reported any improvement in their current state of employment nor on their financial conditions during Q4, showcasing the continued struggle with unemployment amongst the most vulnerable segments. Despite the marginal improvement in employment, thanks in large part to the continuity of business operations with minimal restrictions, in addition to the refreshing recovery of the tourism industry compared to 2020 (90% increase in the number of tourists visiting Jordan), reported job losses values continue to be significantly higher than pre-COVID-19 average values.
This all comes at a time when Jordan is facing yet a more agile variant of COVID-19 ‘Omicron’, whereby infection rates are already reaching unprecedented numbers in the Kingdom. Thus, jeopardizing the recovery of sectors that are considered to be the pillars of the Jordanian economy, such as tourism and services. Whether or not the current improvement may be deemed short-lived, largely depends on how quickly life can return to normalcy.