For Jordanians, 2018 was a year plagued with economic hardship and uncertainty. As a consequence, many exhibited decreased confidence in the government’s ability to improve the country’s economic situation and enhance people’s living standards. While pessimistic sentiments about the country’s current economic trajectory persist, the intense negativity that marked the end of 2018 have slightly subsided as a result of Jordanians’ increased optimism regarding their personal financial situation.
The slight change in Jordanians’ sentiments had a direct impact on this quarter’s JCSI with the index witnessing a 3-point increase when compared to the last quarter of 2018- the first increase in 9 months. Although the general pessimism on both the local and global economic scenes persists, at the end of 2018, Ipsos Jordan predicted the slight improvement witnessed this quarter. The main instigator behind this change is the aftermath of the newly implemented tax law on Jordanians’ livelihoods. With 9 in 10 Jordanian households not actually being subjected to income tax, the majority of Jordanians have grown more comfortable with their current financial situation. The government has also been more active when it comes to increasing media coverage relating to its new economic reforms. Such reforms mainly included lowering the sales tax on some products, subsidizing bread prices, fighting corruption, promoting business and growth opportunities in Jordan to the international community in the last London Initiative Conference, and last but not least working on developing trade relations with Iraq and Syria. All these developments have played a crucial role in subsiding Jordanian’s negative sentiments towards their finances.
However, despite increased confidence surrounding personal finances, Jordanians are still feeling the heat of financial burdens as evident by increased expenditure on household staples and utilities which has come at the expense of expenditure on more luxury items when compared to 12 months ago. Not only that, but Jordanians also continue to express their concerns about high unemployment levels with many witnessing firsthand the heat of diminishing job security. This in return has only pushed Jordanians to believe that Jordan is still not headed in the right direction.