The KR Household Economic Condition Index (KR-ECI) increased from 38.1 in September 2020 to 39.5 in October of the same year, suggesting that the perception of households towards overall living conditions has improved. Households, in particular those in the agricultural sector, were more optimistic about employment and income in line with steady increases in agricultural product prices that have supported the increase in income of agricultural households. However, the sentiment of households in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region towards employment and income has not improved, in alignment with the results of an additional survey conducted by KResearch showing that the number of employees being laid off has continued to accelerate since June. The survey results also showed that most organizations are delaying recruitment plans and more early retirement is being seen in private companies. The different perspective on income and employment among households is probably due to workers in the manufacturing and service sectors who had been laid off and had returned to their homeland and entering into the agricultural sector. Nevertheless, the Thai employment situation remains fragile.
Although the 3-month Expected Household Economic Condition Index improved as well, the survey results also showed that households were still concerned about higher expenditures as the year-end holiday season is approaching. However, the government’s stimulus measures during October-December 2020, including cash handout to welfare cardholders, the “Kon La Khreung” program (or Let’s Go Halves program) and the “Shop Dee Mee Kuen” program (or Shop and Payback program), may help stimulate spending in the final quarter of 2020, especially the “Kon La Khreung” program which helps boost income for small shops and stalls.
However, the Thai economy will continue to experience many challenges ahead, including uncertainties surrounding domestic politics, concerns towards the resurgence of COVID-19 at home and abroad, especially in Europe, which may affect Thailand’s reopening to foreign tourists.
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