Policy Research Reports

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Jordanian Households and Firms: Findings from the ERF COVID-19 Monitor in Jordan


PRR 39




May, 2022


I. Health

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a particular challenge for low and middle-income countries and vulnerable groups, such as informal and casual workers, refugees and poor households. Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the livelihoods of residents of Jordan is critically important to design and assess policy responses to the crisis and formulate plans for an equitable and sustained recovery. Therefore, the ERF and the FCDO initiated a collaboration whereby a series of short panel phone surveys were conducted to monitor the effect of the crisis on households, workers, and micro and small enterprises. These surveys aim to assess how households and enterprises cope with these effects. The short phone survey includes an economic impact questionnaire, with a household module, as well as worker, enterprise, farmer and woman modules. This document provides the results of the surveys for households and firms. Three waves of rapid panel phone surveys were conducted throughout February 2021-August 2021 to observe the impact and of COVID-19 and the change of the impact on individuals and households in Jordan. The survey over-sampled Syrians to reach a quota of around 500 Syrian respondents. Hereafter, the household survey results are presented for Jordanians and Syrians separately.   Labour Market Indicators The third wave of the households shows a decrease in the share of inactive Jordanian and Syrian individuals, where the share declined by around seven and eight percentage points among Jordanians and Syrians, respectively. Accompanied by the transition to being active in the labour force, the employment share increased by almost four and eight percentage points among Jordanians and Syrians, respectively. While the Jordanians witnessed a two percentage points increase in the unemployment share, it decreased by about two percentage points among the Syrians.  In conclusion, more individuals were able to find a job than those who became unemployed. In addition, the firms’ survey results show that besides the increasing average of the number of workers reaching 26.5 per cent in August 2021, more firms (4.3 per cent) started to hire workers compared to February 2021 (1.2 per cent).   Income and Expenditure Jordanian households did not witness substantial differences in monthly income or expenditure changes throughout the three waves. In fact, around two-fifths experienced a decrease in food spending and less than a half were still suffering from a decline in monthly income. However, Syrian households’ income levels remained depressed, with almost two-thirds of households reported income losses in August 2021, compared to pre-pandemic levels. However, while the share reporting income losses increased from February to June 2021, it decreased again in August 2021.   Support and Coping Strategies The share of Jordanian and Syrian households receiving regular government assistance (or charitable) declined in August 2021. Only 34 per cent of the Jordanian households reported receiving support in June 2021 and August 2021 compared to 43 per cent in February 2021.  At the same time, the percentage of Syrian households receiving regular support dropped from 88 per cent in February 2021 to 74 per cent in August 2021. Resorting to families and friends remained the most important coping strategy among Jordanian and Syrian households. While almost half of the Jordanian households had to ask family and friends for help in August 2021, three of every four Syrian households resorted to family and friends. When it comes to firms, the majority reported adopting no coping strategies to the pandemic (49 per cent of all firms), this has been notably declining from February 2021 to August 2021. However, most of the firms adapting to the pandemic reported purchasing on credit and advances, which increased from 19 per cent in February 2021 and June 2021 to 26 per cent in August 2021.   Enterprises Working Status and Adapting Strategies A higher proportion of households’ enterprises, small and medium, were open with normal working hours in August 2021, compared to June and February 2021. Returning to normal status substantially rose among Syrian business owners in August 2021, where almost three-quarters of Syrian households’ enterprises reported being open with no change.   The most influential adaptation method for the currently hired workforce is to reduce or delay earnings paid to employees in February 2021, which changed to temporarily laying off workers in the June 2021. This further increased in August 2021, when firms reported expecting to temporarily lay off more than six workers, compared to only three in June 2021 and two in February 2021. Firms surveyed in the third wave expected to reduce or delay wages of around 1.8 workers on average due to the pandemic, quite similar to the number reported in the second wave, but sizably less than what was reported in the first wave. Similarly, the expected number of permanent layoffs has been declining between the first, second and third waves. Firms in the third wave also seemed more optimistic about their expected new hires, reporting only 1.2 and 1 new hires on average in the first and second wave, respectively, compared to 4.3 in the third wave.
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Jordanian Households and Firms: Findings from the ERF COVID-19 Monitor in Jordan

Research Fellows

May Gadallah

Associate Professor, Departments of Statistics, Cairo University

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Jordanian Households and Firms: Findings from the ERF COVID-19 Monitor in Jordan


Moheb Said

Independent Researcher

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Jordanian Households and Firms: Findings from the ERF COVID-19 Monitor in Jordan


Hosam Ibrahim

PhD student, Department of Applied Economics, University...