Unemployment rate climbed to 5.3% in May

The DoSM says the change in unemployed persons in May was very much lower than the change registered from March to April

by HARIZAH KAMEL/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

MALAYSIA’S unemployment rate in May this year jumped to 5.3% from 5% compared to April as the number of jobless Malaysians spiked by 47,300 to 826,100 people.

According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM), the change in unemployed persons in May was very much lower than the change registered from March to April which is 168,300.

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin in a statement said the reduction could partly be due to the implementations of numerous stimulus packages reaching their intended targets in addition to more businesses being allowed to operate following the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).

Employed persons recorded a marginal decline of 0.3% month-on-month (MoM) to 14.89 million persons.

This is in line with the employment-to-population ratio which provides information on the ability of an economy to create employment dropping further by 0.4 percentage points to post 64.4%. Among the affected employed persons were in the services sector — mainly industries related to tourism, event management, sports and recreation, as well as the construction sector.

Own-account workers continued to decrease since March, recording 2.42 million persons in May with most being daily wage earners working in farmer’s markets, night markets and stalls, freelancers, as well as smallholders.

Additionally, the number of labour force rose marginally by 1,800 persons to record 15.71 million persons.

However, the labour force participation rate stood at 68%, registering a decline of 0.1 percentage point MoM as outflows into the outside labour force increased.

Outside labour force recorded inflows of 47,000 persons, bringing the total number to 7.39 million persons.

A combination of more than 80% was outside the labour force due to housework or family responsibilities and schooling.

Looking ahead, Mohd Uzir said the economic indicators for May showed improvement compared to April this year.

“During the month, the Industrial Production Index surged 18.2% MoM as indices for manufacturing, electricity and mining increased. Likewise, sales of the manufacturing sector recorded double-digit growth of 19.1%.

“Export registered a smaller decline of negative 3.4% in May against 15.6% in April. In the meantime, wholesale and retail trade increased 26.3%, spearheaded by the motor vehicle subsector,” he said.

He revealed that despite the continuous negative trend in the labour supply up to May, the situation has improved considerably compared to April.

As the Recovery MCO took effect on June 10 onwards, the implementation may allow businesses to regain their momentum, while new business opportunities emerge as demand changes amid the new normal.

“This in turn is expected to retain employment, create new jobs and spur hiring. In the short term, the labour force situation in June is expected to improve slightly, while in the medium term up to the second half of 2020, further progress is deemed possible,” added Mohd Uzir.

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