Covid-19 Has All but Killed a Lifeline in Poor Economies—Hustling for Work



Eun-Young Jeong | The WSJ

When times get tough in the developing world, many workers eke out a living by doing odd jobs, driving taxis or selling snacks on the street. In the post-Covid economy, even those options aren’t working out for many people.

In the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, Khemawan Achewapanish said she is earning less than $3.50 a day selling noodles and desserts at a temple food stall—about one-tenth of what she used to earn. Foot traffic remains light, and “nobody wants to spend,” she said.

It was different during the 2008-09 financial crisis, she said. People lost jobs then, but traffic stayed brisk, and she was able to earn additional money renting out audio equipment for weddings and temple fairs, which isn’t possible today.

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