Published in the Jordan Times today:
The global economic downturn has forced 28 per cent of Jordanians to cut down on their household expenditures, according to the latest study by the Middle East’s leading job website: Bayt.com.
The study, carried out in conjunction with research specialists YouGov, found that 30 per cent of professionals across the rest of the surveyed countries have cut down on their household spending.
“The region’s consumers are cutting back considerably on their spending. Now, despite some signs of optimism at the grassroots level in the global economy, it seems the trend of being more price-conscious looks set to continue, at least in the short term,” said Nassim Ghrayeb, regional CEO of YouGov.
Asked to name their main reason for cutting down on spending, recession was the most common answer among respondents, followed by job losses suffered by either the respondent or a family member.
Around 36 per cent of professionals in Jordan and Bahrain said they would accept reduced salary in a new job in case of redundancy, compared to 31 per cent of all respondents, while region-wide, 45 per cent said they wouldn’t settle for any less.
“There is a general consensus that the recession is having a sustained impact on the region, which of course manifests itself in the behaviour and attitudes of professionals living and working here,” explained Amer Zureikat, Bayt.com’s regional manager.
The study asked respondents about their financial health both before and during the recession to ascertain how many professionals felt their financial position had changed. In Jordan, the figures changed considerably. Before the recession, an overwhelming 42 per cent of respondents felt financially more stable than their peers, compared to only 26 per cent during the recession.
More than a third of Jordanians attributed this change in their financial status to job losses, and 17 per cent said it was due to salary cuts.
In Jordan, residents have taken a number of steps to deal with the recession. The study found that 31 per cent of respondents have moved to a different country as a result of the recession, while 5 per cent have moved to a less expensive part of the country.
However, according to a report issued by the Central Bank of Jordan, the inflation rate during the first five months of this year fell sharply to 1 per cent compared with 11.6 per cent during the same period last year.
The report also indicated that the real gross domestic product grew by 3.2 per cent during the first quarter of this year compared with 8.6 per cent during the first quarter of 2008.
According to the Bayt.com survey, physical health was also found to be an issue during the recession, with 27 per cent saying financial problems had caused them health concerns or issues including stress, and 13 per cent saying that a family member’s health had been affected. In Jordan, 28 per cent of those surveyed suffered with bad health as a result of the recession – slightly higher than the regional average.
“These findings send a clear message to employers that many professionals across the region are suffering at the moment,” concluded Zureikat.
Data for the Surviving the Recession study was collected online between the period of May 26 and June 28, 2009 with 12,908 respondents from across the region. Males and females over age 18 were included in the study.