Unemployment During COVID 19-Widening the Gap Between Rich and Poor

  • Over 20 million American citizens ​lost their jobs​. 
  • The UK has an unemployment rate of close to 8%.
  • Currently, when it comes to the younger generation, the job market is dreary.

Many changes took place with the pandemic hit. While everyone was dealing with the pandemic to the same level, the virus was affecting younger individuals and those with no solid educational qualifications in a significantly worse way. The Government had to implement social assistance and risk-sharing mechanisms to safeguard the vulnerable from future economic hardships.

There is no denying that COVID-19 has been a health and economic shock of theatrical levels. The Coronavirus global pandemic is widely recognized as the greatest economic crises to affect the world at large since the Great Depression of 1929. While the total number of confirmed cases is escalating every day, finally topping four million globally, the unemployment rate in April 2020 worked its way to 14.7% as over 20 million American citizens ​lost their jobs​. The UK is not far behind, having a similar unemployment rate of close to 8%. The UK focused on implementing a few schemes to assist the companies come up or stay afloat during the pandemic, which worked in the short run to the point where the markets began opening. While the statistic is shocking, if previous pandemics serve as a reference point, they bring to light a dreadful conclusion that is a deep-rooted class divide based on the widening gap between the rich and poor.

Not all who are unemployed are equal, there are a large number of unemployed people in the UK who are not planning on getting back into the workforce until the economies are a little more stable. While economic devastation and mass unemployment prevail in most parts of the world, the impact on the ​poor and vulnerable​ segments is worse. According to economists, the pandemic threatens to leave an entire class of lower-wage workers and low skilled individuals in great financial distress when compared to rich white-collar workers.

The pandemic and its effects on employment

While quarantine measures are still very much in effect globally, the sudden and unexpected shutdowns of factories, companies and organizations hit a pause on movement and commerce. As a result of these restrictions, businesses struggle while continuing to tackle issues related to disrupted supply chains and lost revenue. Policymakers globally are attempting to implement fiscal and monetary measures to ease the financial strain on citizens and the economy. However, unemployment is nevertheless rising steeply, as it occurs in the case of significant epidemics.

The consequences on the rich and poor

The pandemic, like all epidemics, led to an increase in income inequality. The individuals who possess a basic education are badly hit, severely reducing their employment prospects or proving to be non-existent. Individuals with advanced degrees, on the other hand, are scarcely affected because they find a way to keep their jobs or can find a new one. Additionally, educational qualifications are a distinguishing factor in employment opportunities. Furthermore, relatively high unemployment rates are recorded with young workers, part-time workers, women and ethnic and racial minorities. According to a recent study on previous pandemics (which encompasses the Spanish flu, MERS, SARS and Ebola), conducted by the IMF, it is found that after five years, the share of wealth heading to the bottom tiers of society has declined.

The number of individuals living in poverty has crossed over 500 million. On the other hand, the collective wealth of billionaires, globally, between March and December 2021 increased from $3.9 trillion to $11.95 trillion.

The set of hurdles of the younger generation

According to the Business Cycle Dating Committee, the US entered the recession in February, which took a particularly demanding toll on young people. Based on research, going into the labour market during a recession has an undesirable effect on future earnings, along with potential job opportunities. Currently, when it comes to the younger generation, the job market is dreary. Bright students are obtaining jobs at a level lower than their expectations, while those who prove to be less capable are off the radar entirely.

The improvement with the overall situation

A majority of economists believe that the rate of unemployment will only continue to rise in 2021. As a result, without global basic income schemes and job guarantee policies, the situation will not get better. Radical policy proposals can lend a helping hand to improve the economic and even health conditions. COVID-19 is leaving a significant impact on almost every part of society, with a massive requirement for policies to focus on stopping long term damage to the lifestyle of lower-income and less advantaged families and sections of society.

Unemployment benefits, access to sick leave, and health benefits are immensely beneficial to the poor. It can act as a security blanket to a certain extent. Bringing forward new transfers, developing social assistance systems and encouraging public work programs to provide job opportunities helps sustain employment. Even progressive tax measures can reduce the burden of the distressing distributional outcomes resulting because of the pandemic.

The right kind of social assistance and risk-sharing policies can also prove useful when accounting for future shocks that can occur, which safeguards the vulnerable from experiencing what they are going through in these current times.

The requirements when it comes to job applications

When it comes to the job application process, there are challenges that everyone has to overcome, with some changes implemented through the pandemic. With many people spending most of their time at home or unemployed, companies wanted their staff to provide information about their backgrounds before beginning their work.

Everyone has to provide a background check that they could handle through a third party so that employers could make sure that they did not have a criminal record in the past. Additionally, most private companies had to shut during the pandemic, with the Government implementing multiple national lockdowns. The companies and businesses that were running were directly connected to the COVID cause and were marked as essential services since they assisted the public.

Since the people working in these industries were working in the public sector, they had to make sure that they could trust them, and the lack of a ​criminal background​ was a requirement.

Additionally, depending on their job position, the test had to be in a lot more details.

Sophia William

Sophia William is an industry expert who enjoys writing on Education, Research & lifestyle, etc. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Sophia finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. 

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