Table of Contents


Background 3

Problem Statement 4

Research Questions 4

Research Objectives 4

Aim 4

Significance 5


Unemployment and COVID-19 Pandemic 6

Measures Needed to Manage the Unemployment 7

Theories of Unemployment 8

Literature Gap 9


Philosophy 10

Research Approach 10

Methods 10

Search Strategy 11

Data Analysis 11

Ethical Considerations 12


References 13

Appendix: 1 16



Unemployment has been a global concern even before the COVID-19 global pandemic struck. Before the COVID-19, the number of unemployed was already rising over time and posed challenges across the globe (Casale and Posel, 2021; Vindegaard and Benros, 2020). The COVID-19 pandemic however disrupted the economic activities globally leading to unprecedented recession. Compared to 2019, about 8.8% of the working hours globally were lost (Casale and Posel, 2021; Vindegaard and Benros, 2020). The loss translates to over 255 million full-time jobs. The global unemployment rate stood at 5.55% in 2017, it slowed down to 5.37% in 2018 and 2019 (WORLD BANK, 2021). However, in 2020, the figure shot by 1.1% to stay at 6.47%. The COVID-19 pandemic thus saw a rise in the number of unemployed by 33 million (WORLD BANK, 2021). Based on regions, Euro Area, Latin America and the Caribbean, Arab World, and North America had recorded a high number of unemployed (above the global average 6.5%-see Appendix 1) compared to the rest of the world. The pandemic affected youths and women worse than their male counterparts. About 8.7% of the youth and 5.0% of women lost their jobs in 2020 compared to 3.9% of men and 3.7% for adults (Casale and Posel, 2021). Due to the job losses spurred by the COVID-19, the health condition of the global population has deteriorated. The mental health of the general population has shown a higher degree of prevalence of adverse psychiatric outcomes when compared to pre-pandemic. Depression and PTSS have increased following the COVID-19 pandemic (Posel, Oyenubi, and Kollamparambil 2021). The depression and anxiety due to COVID-19 lead to reported cases of suicide in Canada and across the world (McIntyre and Lee, 2020). The study thus seeks to explore the impact and propose solutions.

Problem Statement

Before the COVID-19, unemployment was still a social problem that needed the attention of the world. However, with the current pandemic, the rate has since risen and there is no timeline when it is likely to end. The global unemployment rate of 6.5% as of 2020 has caused economic difficulty to those who had to be laid off (Casale and Posel, 2021; Vindegaard and Benros, 2020; WORLD BANK, 2021). The youth (8.7%) and women (5.0%) have however been hit harder than the adult (3.7%) and men (3.9%) overall (Casale and Posel, 2021). With over 8.8% of the working hours lost in 2020, and hence, an increase of over 33 million unemployed. Overall, the total unemployment stands at 255 million full-time jobs. As a result of the job losses spurred by the COVID-19, the health condition of the global population has worsened. There are increased cases of depression and PTSS following the COVID-19 pandemic (Posel, Oyenubi, and Kollamparambil 2021) leading to incidences of suicide globally (McIntyre and Lee, 2020). Thus it is necessary, to find the strategies and solutions to the problem to avert further crisis.

Research Questions

  1. How can the problem of increased global unemployment arising from the COVID-19 global pandemic be mitigated?

Research Objectives

  1. To review the existing policies on employment practices and propose the best strategies for coping up with unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The study aims at exploring the impact of COVID-19 on unemployment so as to identify strategies and solutions necessary to address unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Unemployment has been a challenge before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the pandemic has aggravated the rate and impact on those furloughed affecting mostly vulnerable groups such as women and youth. The study thus will help in generating the best strategies and solutions needed to address the unemployment spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Unemployment and COVID-19 Pandemic

Vindegaard and Benros (2020) observed that there is no sufficient evidence to portray the direct impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health. Nevertheless, Vindegaard and Benros (2020) have posited that the level of depression and PTSS increased as soon as the pandemic struck. The study particularly put more emphasis on the indirect consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on general mental health as being conspicuously manifested in anxiety and depressive symptoms (Vindegaard and Benros; Su, Dai, Ullah, and Andlib; 2021). Su, Dai, Ullah, and Andlib (2021) in their study has found out that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause unemployment in the UK, Germany, and Italy. Although the study observed a general loss of employment globally, it was robustly increasing unemployment in the European economies. Pohlan (2019) found out that job loss hurts life satisfaction, mental health, social integration, and access to economic resources. Additionally, the research established that unemployment deters fulfilment of psychosocial needs related to employment such as high self-efficacy and social status similar findings were realized in Shand, Duffy, and Torok (2021) study, that attributed increased suicide rate to unemployment frustrations. The effects are not short-term and tend to last depending on the length of unemployment and would still exist even after securing a new job. The findings conform to what has been established in studies such as Gundert, Hohendanner (2015) when it observed that labour is a key factor in defining the individual’s engagement in society. Therefore, employment can foster an optimal level of perceived social integration (Gundert, Hohendanner, 2015; Shand, Duffy, and Torok, 2021). Posel Oyenubi, Kollamparambil (2021) also join the debate on the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on unemployment. Although the study acknowledges the negative impact of the pandemic, it focused mainly on the effect of lockdown hence cannot give the overall picture of the long-term effect since lockdown was short-lived.

Measures Needed to Manage the Unemployment

Employment especially among the youth and women is one of the developmental challenges affecting many countries. A review of studies has suggested different strategies to address unemployment. For instance, Mogomotsi and Madigele (2017) proposed that to address youth unemployment, the government ought to offer youths on-the-job experience through the provision of graduate youth unemployment programmes. On the other hand, Su, Dai, Ullah, and Andlib (2021) propose that there ought to be an active labour market policy to address unemployment urgently especially during the pandemic. Posel Oyenubi, Kollamparambil (2021) on the other hand, argued that there is a need to offer mental health support and intervention to enable one to remain motivated and persevere with employment search when the economy rebounds. Additionally, Posel Oyenubi, Kollamparambil (2021) agree with Su, Dai, Ullah, and Andlib (2021) that specialized programmes will help in addressing the needs of job seekers currently managing rejection through such initiatives as skills development, retraining to promote chances of re-employment. Moreover, some studies emphasize the government as a key player in addressing unemployment. Studies such as Shand, Duffy, and Torok (2021) and Mogomotsi and Madigele (2017) suggest that governments can respond to the current unemployment through policies that stimulate economic labour demand. Such policies should be directed at stabilizing the economy. In the short run, the government should employ fiscal policies such as automatic stabilizers and targeted transfer (protection measures) together with public investment reduced taxation for low-income earners and small micro-enterprises (Shand, Duffy, and Torok, 2021). It is also suggested that the government should pursue accommodative monetary policies such as targeted liquidity provision, interest rate reduction, and reserve rate relaxation. The government should also engage in targeted lending and fiscal support to the business to improve productivity and stimulate demand (Shand, Duffy, and Torok, 2021). The suggestions above however have cost implications to the government and should be used appropriately so as not overburden taxpayers and reduce consumption. Addressing the unemployment spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic will require time to adjust. Studies such as Casale and Posel (2021) and Vindegaard and Benros (2020) have shown that even before the pandemic already about 5.4% of the global labour force was unemployed (WORLD BANK, 2021). Mitigating unemployment therefore will need structural reforms, particularly the developing countries. The majority of the developing nations, however, have several developmental challenges including budget deficits and growing international loans.

Theories of Unemployment

The study shall adopt cyclical unemployment theory to house the research. According to the theory, unemployment occurs when there is insufficient aggregate demand within an economy to offer job opportunities for everyone willing to work (Diamond, 2013). Therefore, demands for products and services fall leading to less production required. Subsequently, fewer labourers are needed and since wages happen to be sticky it does not fall to attain the equilibrium level, thus unemployment arises (Diamond, 2013). Due to the high number of unemployed compared to available vacancies, filling all vacancies implies that some workers would still be unemployed. On the contrary, classical unemployment argues that when real wages are above the market-clearing rate, there will be a surplus of labour supplied leading to unemployment (Rogerson, and Robert, 2010; Gertler and Antonella, 2009). The study nevertheless, adopts cyclical unemployment theory to infer how the current unemployment could be understood and resolved.

Literature Gap

Unemployment rise due to COVID-19 pandemic has continued to pose economic and social challenges both at individual and at the national level. The implication is that there is an urgent need to address the problem. It continues to aggravate gender inequality as women and the youth continue to encounter more challenges than men. As a result, the prevailing several people have ended up developing anxiety and depression which leads to lower quality of life. There are increased cases of depression and PTSS following the COVID-19 pandemic and suicide cases have also been reported. There is thus a need to research to come up with strategies and solutions to the prevailing crisis.




The study aims to explore the impact of COVID-19 on unemployment to establish a general theory about appropriate strategies to address unemployment during the COVID-19 period. Interpretivism philosophy will thus be the most appropriate approach to meet the objectives of the study. Collis and Hussey (2014), posit that in interpretivism philosophy reality is greatly shaped by the perceptions of the participants and researchers, therefore, cannot observe reality objectively. Interpretivism will therefore allow the researcher to enter the social world of the participants and explore the social phenomenon from their point of view.

Research Approach

In line with the interpretivism philosophy, the study will adopt an inductive approach to meet the research objectives. An inductive approach will be suitable for the proposed study since it will allow the researcher to draw meanings from the patterns and relationships emerging from the collected data. Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill (2012) suggest that an inductive approach enables a researcher to study the available data and come up with rich and subjective findings resulting in the formulation of a theory.


The study will adopt a qualitative research method which will ensure flexibility in the process of data collection. Qualitative research in addition involves the collection and analysis of visual images or textual data which is in line with the objectives of the proposed study (Creswell, 2014). Qualitative research will further give the researcher the freedom to continue the data collection and analysis process until no new themes are emerging.

Search Strategy

The proposed study will rely on secondary data to establish the research findings. The research will make use of various databases such the EBSCO, NBER and ProQuest to identify secondary sources and collect relevant qualitative data. The researcher will also utilize keywords such as COVID-19 and unemployment to identify the most relevant sources. Inclusion and exclusion criteria will also be employed to narrow down the search.

Table1: Eligibility Criteria

Inclusion Criteria Exclusion Criteria
Qualitative studies and mixed-method studies Non-peer reviewed research
Articles on the impact of COVID-19 Quantitative studies
Studies published in English
Reports on the global unemployment rates
Research published between 2020 and 2022

Data Analysis

The qualitative data collected from secondary sources will be analysed using qualitative content analysis. Qualitative content analysis involves generating themes from raw data which aligns with the study’s objective of formulating a theory based on the study findings. Qualitative content analysis will be suitable for the proposed study as it will enable the researcher to capture the complexities of meaning within the data set. In addition, the qualitative content analysis as observed in Bengtsson (2016), will offer the researcher the flexibility to tailor the data analysis process to meet the objectives of the study

Ethical Considerations

The researcher will follow the university’s guidelines on the ethical conduct of research and where necessary seek approval. The study is also designed and will be conducted to the highest standards of integrity and quality. Since the study will rely on secondary data the researcher will use intext citations and bibliography to acknowledge the works of other scholars.


The proposed study will rely on secondary data to address the research questions. The quality of the research will therefore be heavily dependent on the choice of methodology and the quality of secondary data. The researcher thus analysed choices of research methods to ensure the proposed methodology was the most appropriate for the study. The choice of the appropriate methods for the proposed study was also guided by the research objectives as well as the reliability of the data analysis technique. In addition, the researcher will critically assess the validity and quality of the secondary data sources that will be utilised in the actual research. The actual research will therefore only incorporate quality data from past studies on the impacts of COVID-19 as well as recent reports on unemployment rates. Since COVID-19 is a current phenomenon whose effects on the global unemployment rate only become known in 2020 then, it will be crucial to limit the search to relevant studies published between 2020 and 2022. The researcher will also be guided by the research objectives, keywords as well as inclusion and exclusion criteria to identify the most relevant sources of secondary data to include in the study.


Bengtsson, M. (2016). How to plan and perform a qualitative study using content analysis, Nursing Plus Open, 2, pp. 8-14.

Casale D, and Posel D. (2021). Gender inequality and the COVID-19 crisis: Evidence from a large national survey during South Africa’s lockdown. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. (71).100569.

Collis, J. and Hussey, R. (2014). Business research. 4th ed. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Creswell, J. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Diamond, P. A., (2013). Cyclical Unemployment, Structural Unemployment (January 15, 2013). MIT Department of Economics Working Paper No. 13-05, Available at SSRN: or

Gertler, M. and Antonella T., (2009). “Unemployment Fluctuations with Staggered Nash Wage Bargaining,” The Journal of Political Economy, 117 (1), pp. 38–86.

Gundert, G., and Hohendanner, C. (2015). Active Labour Market Policies and Social Integration in Germany: Do ‘One-Euro-Jobs’ Improve Individuals’ Sense of Social Integration?, European Sociological Review, Volume 31, Issue6,780–797,

McIntyre R.S., and Lee Y. (2020). Preventing suicide in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. World Psychiatry. 19(2):250–251. doi: 10.1002/wps.20767

Mogomotsi, G.E.J. and Madigele, P.K (2017). A cursory discussion of policy alternatives for addressing youth unemployment in Botswana, Cogent Social Sciences, 3:1, DOI: 10.1080/23311886.2017.1356619

Pohlan, L. (2019). Unemployment and social exclusion. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization 164, 273–299

Posel D, Oyenubi A, and Kollamparambil U (2021). Job loss and mental health during the COVID-19 lockdown: Evidence from South Africa. PLoS ONE 16(3): e0249352.

Rogerson, R., and Robert S., (2010). “Search in Macroeconomic Models of the Labor Market,” in Orley Ashenfelter and David Card, eds., Handbook of Labor Economics,Volume 4A, Elsevier, pp. 619–700

Saunders, M., Lewis, P. and Thornhill, A. (2012). Research methods for business students. 6th ed. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.

Shand, F., Duffy, L., and Torok, M. (2021). Can government responses to unemployment reduce the impact of unemployment on suicide? A systematic review. Crisis: The Journal of Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention. Advance online publication.

Su, C-W, Dai, K., Ullah, S. and Andlib, Z. (2021). COVID-19 pandemic and unemployment dynamics in European economies, Economic Research-Ekonomska Istraživanja, DOI: 10.1080/1331677X.2021.1912627

Vindegaard N, and Benros ME. (2020). COVID-19 pandemic and mental health consequences: systematic review of the current evidence. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 2020. pmid:32485289

WORLD BANK. (2021, June 15). Unemployment, total (% of total labor force) (modeled ILO estimate). Retrieved from Unemployment, total (% of total labor force) (modeled ILO estimate): &view=chart

Xiong, J., Lipsitz, O., Nasri, F., Lui, L., Gill, H., Phan, L., Chen-Li, D., Iacobucci, M., Ho, R., Majeed, A., and McIntyre, R. S. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health in the general population: A systematic review. Journal of affective disorders, 277, 55– 64.

Appendix: 1

Country Name 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Africa Eastern and Southern 7.7 7.7 7.9 7.8 7.3 7.1 6.9 6.6 6.1 6.3 6.9 6.7 6.6 6.5 6.4 6.5 6.5 6.5 6.4 6.5 6.8
Africa Western and Central 4.8 4.8 4.7 4.7 4.7 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.3 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.6 4.4 4.6 4.5 5.5 5.9 5.9 5.9 6.3
Arab World 12.5 12.3 12.3 12.3 11.3 11.1 10.3 9.9 9.6 9.2 9.3 10.3 10.5 10.6 10.7 10.7 10.5 10.7 10.3 10.2 11.5
Central Europe and the Baltics 12.4 13.2 13.7 13.0 12.9 12.1 10.1 7.8 6.6 8.5 9.9 9.8 10.0 10.0 8.9 7.8 6.5 5.3 4.3 3.8 4.6
China 3.3 3.8 4.2 4.6 4.5 4.5 4.4 4.3 4.6 4.7 4.5 4.5 4.6 4.6 4.6 4.6 4.5 4.4 4.3 4.6 5.0
East Asia & Pacific 3.6 3.9 4.2 4.5 4.4 4.4 4.3 4.2 4.4 4.4 4.2 4.1 4.1 4.0 4.0 4.0 4.0 3.8 3.7 3.9 4.3
Euro area 9.4 8.3 8.6 9.0 9.2 9.0 8.3 7.4 7.5 9.5 10.1 10.1 11.3 11.9 11.6 10.8 10.0 9.1 8.2 7.6 8.2
European Union 9.8 9.2 9.5 9.6 9.9 9.6 8.6 7.4 7.2 9.1 9.8 9.8 10.8 11.3 10.8 10.0 9.1 8.1 7.3 6.7 7.4
United Kingdom 5.6 4.7 5.0 4.8 4.6 4.8 5.4 5.3 5.6 7.5 7.8 8.0 7.9 7.5 6.1 5.3 4.8 4.3 4.0 3.7 4.3
Latin America & Caribbean 9.2 8.7 9.1 8.9 8.4 7.9 7.3 6.9 6.5 7.5 6.9 6.5 6.4 6.3 6.2 6.7 7.8 8.1 8.0 8.0 10.3
North America 4.3 5.0 6.0 6.2 5.7 5.3 4.8 4.8 5.8 9.2 9.5 8.8 8.0 7.3 6.3 5.5 5.1 4.6 4.1 3.9 8.4
Sub-Saharan Africa 6.6 6.6 6.7 6.6 6.3 6.2 6.0 5.8 5.4 5.6 6.0 5.9 5.8 5.7 5.8 5.8 6.2 6.3 6.2 6.3 6.6
United States 4.0 4.7 5.8 6.0 5.5 5.1 4.6 4.6 5.8 9.3 9.6 9.0 8.1 7.4 6.2 5.3 4.9 4.4 3.9 3.7 8.3
World 5.8 5.9 6.1 6.2 6.0 5.9 5.6 5.4 5.4 6.0 5.9 5.8 5.8 5.8 5.6 5.6 5.7 5.5 5.4 5.4 6.5

Source: (WORLD BANK, 2021)

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