Covid-19, Ekonomi dan Penganggur: Kasus Amerika Serikat

Konteks

Covid-19, ekonomi dan penganggur. Tiga kata ini merefleksikan krisis global masa kini. Dampak buruk Covid-19 terhadap ekonomi jelas dan terdokumentasikan secara relatif memadai: statistik untuk menilai secara objektif relatif mudah diakses. Dampak buruk terhadap ketenagakerjaan juga jelas tetapi statistik yang relevan masih langka. Sejauh ini penulis hanya mampu mengakses data Amerika Serikat (AS) yang melalui tulisan ini dimanfaatkan untuk menilai dampak buruk Covid-19 terhadap ketenagakerjaan, menggunakan ukuran angka pengangguran.

Klaim Berlebihan

Bagi AS– tidak mustahil juga bagi negara lain– dampak negatif Covid-19 terhadap ketenagakerjaan luar biasa. Angka penganggur negara ini menembus dua digit (10% ke atas) sebagaimana disajikan dalam laporan thebalance berikut:

The current U.S. unemployment rate fell slightly to 13.3% after reaching 14.7% in April 2020. More than 20 million workers were let go from their jobs in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The forecast for second-quarter 2020 is 14% as the economy recovers from the shut-down.

Untuk melihat dimensi sejarahnya dapat dilihat tren angka pengangguran selama 70 tahun terakhir sebagaimana disajikan oleh Grafik 1. Dari grafik ini ada tiga catatan yang layak dikemukakan. Pertama, sejak 1950, angka pengangguran selalu satu digit kecuali pada 1981 (11%) ketika krisis moneter (angka inflasi yang hiper) dan 2009 (10%) ketika terjadi krisis ekonomi. Kedua, pada 2020 angka pengangguran melonjak luar biasa padahal sebelumnya terus turun sejak 2010. Ketiga penurunan angka penganggur sampai 2019 berlangsung sejak 2010.

Catatan terakhir menunjukkan penurunan angka pengangguran berlangsung sejak era Obama, bukan baru terjadi di era Trump sebagaimana sering diklaim oleh Administrasi Trump. Dinyatakan secara berbeda, klaim bahwa penurunan angka pengangguran di AS dalam dekade terakhir karena faktor Trump sebenarnya berlebihan.

Grafik 1: Tren Angka Pengangguran AS, 1950-2020

Sumber: thebalance

….. klaim bahwa penurunan angka pengangguran di AS dalam dekade terakhir karena faktor Trump sebenarnya berlebihan.

Pertanyaan Moral

Angka pengangguran 14% (kuartal II 2020) bagi AS luar biasa tinggi karena yang biasa sejak 1942 angkanya hanya satu digit (4-6%). Dalam konteks ini, peristiwa pada 1942 dan 1945 layak dibubuhi catatan khusus:

  • Tahun 1942 adalah tahun ke-3 Perang Dunia II (PD II). Pada tahun ini angka pengangguran AS hanya 5%. Yang menarik, angka itu cenderung turun pada tahun-tahun berikutnya: 2% (1943), 1% (1944) dan 2% (1945).
  • Pada 1945 PD II berakhir. Angka pengangguran hanya 2% sementara angka pertumbuhan ekonomi minus 1%. Yang menarik, tahun berikutnya angka penganggur masih masih relatif rendah (4%) padahal angka pertumbuhan ekonomi minus 12%.

Dari catatan itu dapat ditarik pelajaran bahwa pertumbuhan ekonomi tidak selalu terkait secara langsung dengan angka pengangguran[1]. Pelajaran lainnya, industri terkait perang “bagus” untuk menekan angka penganggur. Catatan kedua menimbulkan pertanyaan moral: Apakah menekan angka pengangguran melalui pembangunan industri “perang” dapat dibenarkan secara moral? Pertanyaan analog: Apakah benar secara moral mendorong pertumbuhan ekonomi dengan mengabaikan protokol kesehatan?

Apakah benar secara moral mendorong pertumbuhan ekonomi dengan mengabaikan protokol kesehatan?

Tidak Sederhana

Gambaran menyeluruh tren angka pengangguran dan angka pertumbuhan ekonomi (GDP growth) dalam periode 1930-50 disajikan pada Grafik 2. Pada grafik ini tampak kecenderungan penurunan angka pengangguran di era PD II walaupun angka pertumbuhan ekonomi berfluktuasi bahkan negatif.

Grafik 3 menyajikan hal serupa tetapi untuk periode 1951-2000. Pada grafik ini tampak dalam periode 1993-2000, misalnya, kecenderungan umum penurunan angka penganggur sejalan dengan kenaikan angka pertumbuhan ekonomi. Pola serupa juga terjadi dalam dekade terakhir sejak 2011 sebagaimana ditunjukkan oleh Grafik 4.

Grafik 2: Tren Angka Pertumbuhan GDP dan Pengangguran AS 1930-1950

Sumber: Sama dengan sumber Grafik 1

Grafik 3: Angka Pertumbuhan GDP dan Pengangguran AS 1950-2000

Sumber: Sama dengan sumber Grafik 1

Grafik 4: Angka Pertumbuhan GDP dan Pengangguran AS 201-2019

Sumber: Sama dengan sumber Grafik 1

Dari tiga grafik ini tampak hubungan yang tidak sederhana antara angka pengangguran dan angka pertumbuhan ekonomi: ada hubungan negatif antara keduanya tetapi tidak selalu. Di sini letaknya arti penting intervensi pemerintah.

…. antara angka pengangguran dan angka pertumbuhan ekonomi ada hubungan negatif tetapi tidak selalu.

Intervensi Pemerintah

Melabeli AS sebagai negara liberal secara ekonomi mungkin menyesatkan. Fakta sejarah menunjukkan pemerintah AS seringkali melakukan intervensi terhadap kegiatan ekonomi “pasar-bebas” untuk melindungi kepentingan umum termasuk dalam bidang ketenagakerjaan. Pihak eksekutif tertinggi AS pada umumnya memprakarsai intervensi yang dimaksud seperti terlihat dalam beberapa kasus berikut.

  • Inisiatif Presiden Roosevelt (1933) untuk mengamankan sistem jaminan Bank untuk mengatasi Depresi Besar yang dipicu oleh rontoknya pasar saham (1929).
  • Inisiatif Presiden Truman yang menginstruksikan George yang (diakui sebagai arsitek kemenangan PD II) untuk mengambil tindakan yang diperlukan untuk mengatasi kelesuan ekonomi akibat perang yang melahirkan apa yang dikenal sebagai Marshall Plan (1947).
  • Obama tax cut (2010) untuk keluar dari krisis ekonomi 2009, dan
  • Tumpt tax cut (2018) untuk memberikan dorongan kuat terhadap pertumbuhan ekonomi dan menekan angka pengangguran

Yang terakhir secara luas dinilai berhasil dan keberhasilan ini merupakan andalan Trump dalam memenangkan Pilpres mendatang. Yang layak-catat, inisiatif menambah sekitar $1 triliun utang negara dalam 10 tahun mendatang.

Kebijakan Trump hampir selalu menuai kontroversi khususnya antara kalangan Republik dan kalangan Demokrat. Tapi dalam kasus jaminan penganggur hampir tidak ada yang mengkritik. Langkah ini secara ekonomi memang dinilai paling efektif untuk menggerakkan ekonomi dan mengurang dampak pengangguran. Logikanya sederhana: Uang jaminan pengangguran yang diberikan akan segera dibelanjakan oleh penerima untuk memperoleh kebutuhan pokok. Ini berarti kegiatan ekonomi penyedia barang dan jasa kebutuhan pokok bergerak. Pada gilirannya, ini akan berdampak positif terhadap lapangan kerja jasa keamanan di pasar, jasa transportasi, dan petani. Singkatnya, uang jaminan pengangguran akan segera berdampak positif bagi lapangan kerja termasuk bagi petani.

….. uang jaminan pengangguran akan segera berdampak positif bagi lapangan kerja termasuk bagi petani.

******

Kebijakan Trump terkait jaminan bagi penganggur, karena efektivitas dan kecepatan dampaknya, layak dipertimbangkan oleh pemerintah mana pun termasuk Indonesia. Untuk Indonesia belum tersedia data resmi yang dapat diakses oleh publik) pengangguran akibat Covid-19. Angkanya beredar antara 2-6 juta[2]. Katakanlah angkanya 4 juta dan pemerintah bermaksud memberikan jaminan Rp 1 juta/kepala/bulan maka kebutuhan per bulan hanya Rp 4 triliun. Hemat penulis angka ini relatif kecil terutama jika dilihat sebagai umpan untuk menggerakkan ekonomi.

Wallahualam.…. @

[1] (Orang ekonomi bilang angka penganggur adalah lag variable; artinya variabel itu akan terdampak secara positif (turun) jika pertumbuhan ekonomi terlalu berlangsung beberapa lama.)

[2] Perbedaannya terlalu besar untuk mengandalkan salah satu.

Tren Tidak Pernah Bohong

Jika Anda mengamati situasi internal Amerika Serikat (AS) akhir-akhir ini maka Anda akan menikmati serunya hiruk-pikuk politik di negara Paman Sam itu. Momennya mendukung: (1) tahun ini adalah tahun pemilihan Potus, the President of the United States of America, (2) Potus yang sekarang, Trump, baru saja lolos dari proses pemakzulan oleh Senat setelah sebelumnya dimakzulkan oleh Kongres, dan (3) sejak awal administrasinya, Trump “berhasil” menciptakan kondisi yang membuat masyarakat AS terbelah secara efektif antara pendukung Partai Republik pendukung gigih Trump dan Partai Demokrat yang sejak awal berupaya memakzulkan Trump.

Kesan penulis, sebagian besar (kalau tidak mayoritas) masyarakat AS tidak mengamini gaya kepemimpinan Trump khususnya terkait dengan kebijakan luar negeri dan keadaban berkonstitusi dalam kedudukan sebagai Potus. Tapi pernyataan ini masih perlu diverifikasi melalui Pemilu akhir 2020 ini. Masalahnya bagi barisan Partai Demokrat adalah bahwa ekonomi AS lagi bagus-bagusnya sehingga dikhawatirkan Trump masih akan memenangkan kursi Potus untuk putaran kedua.

Bahwa ekonomi lagi bagus didukung oleh indikator sosial-ekonomi yang meyakinkan: pasar modal sangat bagus, pertumbuhan ekonomi lumayan, angka kemiskinan rendah (diklaim oleh kubu Trump terendah dalam sejarah AS), angka penganggur di diklaim paling rendah dalam sejarah, penciptaan lapangan kerja terus bertambah.

Dua indikator pertama (pasar modal dan pertumbuhan ekonomi) dianggap belum meyakinkan karena belum menyangkut hajat hidup orang banyak secara langsung. Dua indikator berikutnya (kemiskinan dan penganggur) jelas meyakinkan. Istilah penganggur jelas terkait dengan employment, bukan hanya job; artinya, menyangkut orang banyak secara kongkret, bukan hanya kelompok tertentu.

Indikator yang mungkin paling meyakinkan adalah penciptaan lapangan kerja. Tidak ada negara yang menganggap enteng urusan ini. Negara “gagal” atau “setengah gagal” umumnya terkait dengan urusan ini, khususnya ketidakmampuan menyediakan lapangan kerja bagi kalangan muda yang semakin terdidik. (Ini salah satu paradoks pembangunan: penduduk semakin terdidik tetapi penganggur tinggi justru mencolok bagi kalangan terdidik.)

Negara “gagal” atau “setengah gagal” umumnya terkait dengan urusan ini, khususnya ketidakmampuan menyediakan lapangan kerja bagi kalangan muda yang semakin terdidik.

Kembali ke Trump.

Saat ini penciptaan lapangan kerja AS bertambah bahkan lebih banyak dari yang diramalkan oleh para ahli. Ini didukung oleh statistik resmi AS, DOL (Department of Laour). Pertanyaannya, apakah ini faktor Trump? Ini pertanyaan kompleks. Untuk menjawab ini, orang statistik biasanya merekomendasikan pendekatan perbandingan dengan mengajukan pertanyaan kira-kira begini:

“Mana yang lebih banyak lapangan kerja yang diciptakan, apakah di era Obama tiga tahun terakhir, atau di era Trump tiga tahun pertama?”

Analisis statistik menggunakan data DOL menunjukkan bahwa lapangan kerja baru ternyata lebih banyak diciptakan di era tiga terakhir Obama dari pada di era tiga pertama Trump. Dengan kata lain, perluasan kesempatan kerja yang terjadi akhir-akhir ini bukan faktor Trump.

Tetapi urusan belum selesai. Menurut salah seorang penyiar CNN, kubu Trump melakukan analisis statistik yang canggih dengan melihat ulang seri data yang panjang tetapi ketenagakerjaan… ini yang menarik… dan melakukan berbagai penyesuaian (adjustment) yang mengarah pada pendeskriditan kinerja Obama. Di sini patut diduga ada isu moral statistik “How to lie with statistics?”

Isu moral Statistik: “How to lie with statistics?

Hasil analisisnya? Tren di era Trump ternyata merupakan kelanjutan tren di era Obama. Kesimpulannya, besarnya penciptaan lapangan usaha di AS akhir-akhir ini tidak bisa diklaim sebagai faktor Trump.

Mengamati hasil analisis itu CNN edisi 8 Februari 2020 mengetengahkan headline:Trend never lie“, “Tren tidak pernah bohong”

Wallahualam…@

Recent Survey on Indonesia Employment: A Brief Analysis

This article is aimed to analyze briefly the recent trends of Indonesia’s working-age population and its components as viewed from the labour force perspective. The analysis covered the period 2008-2014 and focused at the national level of analysis. Sakernas– a regular national labour survey carried out by BPS-Statistics Indonesia since 1976– is used as the major data source. In order to have a better understanding of the measurements used in the analysis, the following paragraphs discuss briefly some conceptual issues concerning some basic labour statistics.

Labour Statistics: Global Standard

Sakernas adopts the global standards of labour statistics as stipulated in the resolutions of the International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS). In this context, the 13th ICLS (1982) and the 19th ICLS (2013) are of special interest as they set out the global standards for basic[1] labour statistics such as employment and unemployment.

With regards to persons in employment, Sakernas defines it as all those who during the last week, were engaged in any activity to produce goods or provide services for pay or profit. This definition is fully in line with the global standard (ICLS-19, Par. 27). Sakernas defines persons in labour force as those in employment and in employment and this also complying the global standard (Par. 16).

What might worth noting here is that official statistics derived from by far has not yet taken into consideration those who engaged in productive activity not for employment but for “own use” and for “volunteer”. According to the 19th ICLS, these two categories are not part of employment[2].

By so doing, official employment statistics produced by BPS by far might be regarded as somewhat overestimate. Nonetheless, that is not an issue for this analysis as it focuses on the trends that require consistency in applying the concept throughout the compared period.

Demographic Dimension

One of the biggest challenges faced by Indonesia is a sheer number of the working-age population (WAP). This is not surprising as the country ranks the fourth biggest country after China, India, and the United States. To add the challenge, as Sakernas series data show, the WAP tends to increase in a pace that is faster than the growth rate of the total population. WAP data for the period 2008-2016 can be used to illustrate the increase. During the period total WAP increased from around 174.2 million in 2010 to 189.8 million in 2016. This is an annual increase of 1.86%[3]. This pace of increase is much faster than the increase in the total population during the same period that was 1.36%.

The comparison of the figures points to a phenomenon popularly known as the demographic bonus. That can be a bonus– and not a curse– if the younger generation is able to get a decent education and facility to improve their self-quality[4].

There is another aspect of the phenomenon just mentioned worth considering. Close observation at the trends in the WAP by age group provides a strong indication that the status of demographic bonus for Indonesia is at a somewhat later stage. The following points might be helpful in clarifying the concerned issue:

    • During the 2008-2018 period (August) the increase in the proportion for the younger-ages group (15-24) was very small and even almost flat; that was, only 0.35%.
    • The percentage was higher for the “prime-age” group (25-54) that was 1.43 %.
    • For “old-age” group (55+) the percentage was even much bigger; that was 3.7% (See Graph 1).

Graph 1: Working-age Population by Age Group, 2008-2012

Source: BPS, Sakernas, https://www.bps.go.id/.

The comparison of the increases confirms the above notion of the status of a “later stage” of demographic bonus of Indonesia. In addition, the relatively high increase for the old-age group suggests a clear indication of the route of Indonesia’s population toward the aging stage.

Trends in the Labour Force

As shown by Graph 2, the proportion of “out of the labour force” remained unchanged during the period 2008-2012; that was, 33% of the total WAP. This means the labour force also unchanged at 67% level during the same period.

In the same period, the compositions of the labour force had changed by three percentage points but with different direction: while the employment increased by three percentage points, the unemployment decreased by the same percentage points[5]. (See Graph 2.)

Graph 2: Change in the Structure of Working-age Population 2008-2012.

Source: BPS, Sakernas, https://www.bps.go.id/.

Graph 3 shows the increase in the labour force during the period 2008-2018. As shown by the graph, the pace of the increase is not as fast as the increase in the WAP. As also shown by the graph, the labour force was almost always bigger in February than in August and this is probably associated with the seasonal work in agriculture, a still important economic branch for Indonesia’s employment.

Graph 3: Trends in the Working Age Population and Labour Force (000)

2008-2018

Source: BPS, Sakernas, https://www.bps.go.id/

Trend LFPR and EPR

Statistics of employment can be measured by two indicators of the labour force participation rate (LFPR) and the employment-population ratio (EPR). These two indicators are comparable as each of them using the same numerator or “the population at risk” that is the WAP[6]. Nonetheless, each of them is to serve its own function. While the first indicator reflects the supply side of the labour market, the second reflects its demand side; i.e., measuring how much the labour supply absorbed by the economy.

Graph 4 exhibits the comparison between the LFPR and the EPR during the period 2008-2018: the LFPR is always higher than the EPR for the obvious reason: the numerator of the LFPR includes unemployment element that is not included in EPR.

Graph 4: Trends in the Labour Participation Rate and Employment-Population Ratio

 2008-2018.

Source: BPS, Sakernas, https://www.bps.go.id/

The graph shows the LFPR was around two-thirds of the WAP and tends to be higher in February than in August for the reason as previously mentioned. The graph also shows that the LFPR tends to fluctuate over the observed periods with slightly different direction: the trend slightly increasing in February and increasing in August.

Like LFPR, EPR is higher in February than in August. Unlike LFPR, EPR tends to increase over the compared periods. This suggests the consistency in the increase of employment regardless of the month of observation (February of August).

Trends in Unemployment

During the period 2008-2018 the unemployment rate in Indonesia was relatively low (one-digit) and tends to decline. As shown by Graph 5, during the period the unemployment rate declined from around 8.4-8.5% in 2008 to 5.1-5.3% in 2018. Comparison between levels in February and August shows that during 2008-2013 the unemployment rate tends to be higher in February (than in August), and starting 2013 the reverse was in place; i.e., tends to be higher in August (than in February).

Graph 5: Trends in the unemployment rate (%), 2008-2018

Source: BPS, Sakernas, https://www.bps.go.id/

The relatively low and decreasing rates in unemployment as just discussed do in fact obscure a high unemployment rate among the educated persons: on the average, the educated persons have 2.6 bigger risks of being unemployed than the uneducated. (See this for detail.)

Concluding Remarks.

Conventional wisdom suggests that the age-structure of Indonesia’s population in the 2020s will be entering the phase of demographic bonus. Quite contrary to this wisdom, a series of Sakernas data do indicate the phase has been entered since the 2010s and even in its later phase. The evidence of this is that the pace of increase in the working-age population than in the total population and this especially striking for the older-age group (55 or older).

The LFPR remained constant during the period 2008-2018 at the two-thirds of the total WAP. However, these changes could be misleading as the trends in its components went through in a different direction; that was, the increase in the employment and the decreasing in unemployment.

The unemployment rate during the period 2008-2018 was at relatively low (one-digit) and its trend decreasing continuously. However, this obscures the high level of unemployment rate among the youth. This issue– together with other issues like the forced labour and “modern slavery”– is probably one among the undesirable modern paradoxes. Who knows?

[For pdf version click this.]

*****

[1] Statistics on such issues as SDG indicators and child labor are not regarded as basic statistics and hence not covered in the analysis.

[2] Starting 2016 the Sakernas questionnaire is refined by additional questions that can provide data on these two categories. This refinement can also provide much richer data on all forms of work that have been identified by the 19th ICLS.

[3] https://www.bps.go.id/statictable/2009/02/20/1268/laju-pertumbuhan-penduduk-menurut-provinsi.html.

[4] https://feb.ugm.ac.id/en/news/2625-demographic-bonus-threat-or-opportunity

[5] Expressed in a different way, during the period, the total employment increased by 21.5 million or 21.0% while the total unemployment decreased by 2.4 million or 25.5%.

[6] LFPR = labour fore/WAP and EPR = employment/WAP. The complement of the second reflects the magnitude of the unemployed over the WAP.

*****

 

Labour Underutilization: Concept and Measurement (3/3)

Section 3: Some Lessons from the 2012 Sakernas

As discussed above, the Sakernas (until 2015) is unable to provide data on “potential labour force” (PLF), the second component of the labour underutilized” (LU). The reason for this is that the questionnaire of the survey does not contain the question of “the availability of work”. However, part of PLF (using ICLS-19 standard) has been included already in the unemployment rate; namely, “discouraged job seeker” (DJS).

The estimated population of DJS, according to Sakernas 2012, is around 2.26 million. This is a big number as reflected in the DRS-unemployment ratio which is about 31:100. The table also shows some numbers that can be used to estimate population or ratios of some components of Working-age Population (WAP) as below:

  • Unemployment (U) = 7.2 million, if DJS is considered as part of U (as official figure); OR 5.0 million, if DJS if DJS is considered as part of “Outside LF)” (as suggested by ICLS-19);
  • Unemployment rate= 6.1% or 4.3%; depending on how to treat DJS;
  • Time-related Underemployment (TRU) = 11.5 million
  • Labour Underemployment (LU) >= 18.8 million, if LU>=U+TRU, and
  • LU rate >= 15.9%, if LU rate = (LU/Labour Force) *100.

[Beck to Section 1]

Labour Underutilization: Concept and Measurement (2/3)

Preliminary notes:

The concept of labour underutilization as discussed in the first section is the product of the resolution of  ICLS-19 hosted by ILO aimed mainly to be used as global guidelines in the area of labour statistics.  However, as a product of an ILO resolution, the concept is not binding for the participating countries of ILO. They might not be able to promptly follow the guidelines for practical reasons and hence need some time to apply in their actual survey. Part of the reasons for the participating countries are: (1) the need to “harmonize” the concept with actual situation of labour market they face, (2) the need to maintain “consistency” (as opposed to “validity”) of labour statistics between years to avoid confusion among data users, (3) the need test carefully the practicality of the concept in actual survey, and (4) the need to follow their own priorities in statistical activities. 

 

Section 2: Data Availability

At first glance, it appears to be that all the proposed components of “labour underutilization” as outlined in Section 1 are readily produced by a standard labour force survey. However, that is not fully the case, at least in the case of Indonesia. Here is a brief description on that issue.

Until 2015[1], the questionnaire of Sakernas, or Indonesia Labour Force Survey (ILFS) has no question on “the availability of work”. (What is available is a question on “the readiness to accept an offer for more job” that is intended to capture “time-related underemployment” as discussed in Section 1.)

In order to produce official statistics on unemployment, Sakernas defines unemployment put simply as:

(“Not in employment”) & ((“Seeking work”) OR (“Not seeking work due “Future start”” OR “Discouraged”)).

The above definition results in the figure of unemployment as mentioned in Section 1. The definition clearly shows that “availability for work” is ignored in defining “unemployment”.

The above definition “correctly” includes “future start” (not seeking because of having a job already) but “wrongly” includes “discouraged” (not seeking because of feeling there is no opportunity) in the unemployment. According to ICLS-19, “discourage” job seeker belongs to “outside labour fore” category, not “unemployment” (hence not in “labour force” category). In other word the official statistics of unemployment of Indonesia has in fact already included “discouraged” component of “outside labour force” (per ICLS-19 standard). As will be shown soon in Section 3, this component is relatively big, roughly 31% of the unemployment in 2012.

[1] Since 2016 BPS has initiated to improve the Sakernas questionnaire in order to address most of the issues raised by ICLS-19. Processes to refine the questionnaire toward this direction are still in place, until now.

[Proceed to Section 3: Sekernas’ Lessons]

 

Source: Google