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High unemployment rates in low- and middle-income countries after Covid: study

By on August 25, 2022 0


Unlike high-income countries like Canada, low-to-middle-income countries are still experiencing high unemployment rates as a result of COVID-19-related economic lockdowns and restrictions, according to a recent study by York University in collaboration with the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg.

In contrast, during the global economic crisis of 2008-2009, high-income countries suffered more from the recession than low-income countries.

The study compared macroeconomic variables, including unemployment and inflation, across Nigeria, South Africa and Canada, representing lower-middle, upper-middle and high-income countries respectively. He did this using Twitter sentiments.

They found that unemployment rates in all three countries increased at the start of the pandemic; however, Canada managed to reduce the rate after the first few months, unlike Nigeria and South Africa, which still face high unemployment rates.

Jude Kong, an assistant professor at York University and director of the Africa-Canada Consortium for AI and Data Innovation, says the study “indicates just how vulnerable lower-middle-income countries are to lockdowns and limits. economic, suffering greater loss during the COVID -19 epidemic” (ACADIC).

Nigeria’s unemployment rate was lower than South Africa’s before COVID-19, lockdowns and economic restrictions, while South Africa’s inflation rate was lower than Nigeria’s. But compared to Canada and South Africa, unemployment and inflation rates in Nigeria have been rising faster throughout the pandemic.

Particularly in Canada and Nigeria, both of which have experienced high unemployment and high prices throughout the pandemic, the rate of inflation is currently rising in all three countries.

“All groups of income countries have been affected by the COVID-19 disaster. However, the lower economic classes bear a disproportionately greater burden. It will be difficult to recover from this complexity, especially for middle-income countries. , warns study co-author Professor Bruce Mellado, a member of the Gauteng Premier COVID-19 Advisory Committee and co-chair of ACADIC.Prof Mellado is modeling lead at the University of the Witwatersrand and iThemba LABS in South Africa Johannesburg and Pretoria are located in Gauteng, the province with the highest population in South Africa.

“Managing the COVID-19 pandemic has educated us on the value of data for making evidence-based judgments. As a result, the way decision makers view data has changed significantly. According to Mduduzi Mbada, Acting Director General from Gauteng Province, “We look forward to using more data to address societal challenges.”

Even though South Africa’s inflation rate is still close to pre-pandemic levels, any measures taken to tackle the country’s high unemployment rate will likely lead to higher inflation. Although the unemployment rate in Canada is still low, the country is currently experiencing its highest rate of inflation in 15 years, which could be the result of the government’s decision to offer Employment Insurance and the Benefit Canadian Emergency Relief Fund for workers who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

This study stands out in part because the authors used various machine learning algorithms to calculate monthly unemployment rates for South Africa and Nigeria using non-traditional data, including sentiment analysis from data from Twitter and Google Trends. For all three countries, monthly inflation data was available, however, South Africa and Nigeria did not have monthly unemployment data.

Real-time information is abundant on social media and social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and Reddit. This data is stored electronically and frequently available.

According to Kong, “they are well positioned to change the way and speed at which data on particularly hard-to-obtain infectious diseases is made public.” “Conventional surveillance systems, which often provide the data used to develop infectious disease models, have a number of drawbacks, including large time lags and a lack of geographic resolution. They are also expensive.

Data from country-specific Twitter accounts can be used to better understand local macroeconomic concerns and opinions, which could lead to more targeted and popular policies among the population.

According to Mellado, social media can complement traditional immunization and pharmacovigilance approaches, in which the tracking of vaccine and drug-related adverse events relies primarily on passive reporting by physicians, providing behavioral and outcome data. related to the use of vaccines or medications, including drug-related adverse events.

Researchers can determine the most popular topics and gauge public opinion through their abundance of textual data in the form of posts and comments. This provides a better understanding of worries and concerns about the macro economy at the local level and can benefit decision makers and policy makers.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been edited by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)