By: Fani Dewi Astuti, SST (First Expert Statistics at BPS Southeast Sulawesi Province)
For the first time in a decade, the world was shocked by a global pandemic that was spreading rapidly across the globe. No exception in eastern Indonesia, Southeast Sulawesi. Various unexpected surprises were present and recorded as traces of memories throughout 2020 and still continue until now in the middle of 2021, even with a spike in more positive confirmed cases of Covid-19.
Throughout 2020, it was recorded that the Covid-19 pandemic hit the national economy until it experienced a growth contraction of 2.07 percent and was still in recession until the first quarter of 2021 with a growth contraction of 0.74 percent. The recession that occurred is an inevitable result of various policies taken by the government to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus. However, we can be a little proud of the province of Southeast Sulawesi because it is slowly being able to restore economic conditions in the midst of the pandemic that has not ended. Southeast Sulawesi became one of 10 provinces whose economy was able to grow positively in the first quarter of 2020 with a growth rate of 0.06 percent (source: sultra.bps.go.id).
These conditions bring challenges as well as opportunities in the field of employment in Southeast Sulawesi. Termination of work relations, temporary work stops, to experiencing a reduction in working hours due to the closure of several businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic and efforts to provide new jobs are things that go hand in hand with the increase in the number of the workforce. Not to mention the other challenge is how to make people who have worked get decent and sufficient results to achieve prosperity.
The number of Southeast Sulawesi Labor Forces in February 2021 was 1,381,479 people, an increase of 17,430 people (1.28 percent points) compared to February 2020, and an increase of 30,387 people (2.25 percent points) compared to August 2020. This is certainly a challenge for the government. provincial and district/city governments in Southeast Sulawesi to provide job opportunities for the growing workforce.
However, efforts to provide new jobs have not been completed to offset the increase in the number of the workforce, employment in Southeast Sulawesi has also been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Even without a pandemic, the Open Unemployment Rate (TPT) in Southeast Sulawesi alone reached 3.10 percent in February 2020 or as many as 42,321 people. Meanwhile, due to Covid-19, there were 9,312 people recorded for the period February 2020-February 2021 who stopped working or became unemployed.
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic is not only on those who stop working, but also on those who are still working. The recorded number of people working but due to Covid-19 being temporarily out of work during February 2020-February 2021 was 5,501 people. In addition, in the same period, there were also 87,207 people who experienced a reduction in working hours due to Covid-19.
The government should be fully aware of the above conditions. The sustainability of the sectors that absorb the most labor must be ensured in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Likewise, the sector with the fastest absorption of labor, should be encouraged and given various incentives to absorb more workers.
What is expected of course is not just a decrease in the unemployment rate, but more importantly how to make these jobs able to provide decent and sufficient results to achieve prosperity. It is necessary to analyze the employment situation in Southeast Sulawesi so that the workforce that continues to increase every year is able to provide economic benefits while at the same time increasing the welfare of the people of Southeast Sulawesi. This is important because economic inequality and the absence of jobs can trigger various social problems in society.***