761,000 persons unemployed in 4Q20

by HARIZAH KAMEL/ FILE PIX

THE labour market has shown signs of modest recovery in the fourth quarter of 2020 (4Q20), but the unemployment rate increased to 4.8%, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM).

“On the supply side, the number of employed persons declined 0.6% year-on-year (YoY) to 15.16 million persons, while unemployment rate increased to 4.8%, resulting in 761,000 unemployed persons in 4Q20,” chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said in a statement today.

The year 2020 has also observed a softer labour demand by private sector’s businesses, with 73,000 jobs created, down by 31,000 from 104,000 jobs created in 2019.

“In the meantime, with the value added for 2020 contracted 5.6%, labour productivity per employment decreased by 5.4% to RM88,899 per person.

“Following decline in business operation hours, total hours worked in 2020 reduced to 32.0 billion hours from 35 billion hours in 2019, resulting in labour productivity per hour worked increased 3.4% to RM42,” added Mohd Uzir.

In 4Q20, most businesses have yet to resume to the optimum level as pre-crisis period due to the re-implementation of Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) and the Enhanced MCO in high-risk areas nationwide. 

“As the government and private sectors continued working hand-in-hand to strike the equilibrium between life and livelihood, the labour market in 4Q20 had shown modest recovery,” he added.

During the same period, labour force participation rate declined 0.6 percentage points to 68.5% as against 69.1% in 4Q19.

Hence, the number of outside labour force went up by 3.6% to 7.32 million, with more than 40% due to education reasons.

The number of jobs in the private sector edged down by 2.4% to 8.46 million. Out of the total jobs in 4Q20, filled jobs comprised 97.9% or 8.28 million, while jobs opening which can be reflected by the number of vacancies recorded a rate of 2.1%.

The number of vacancies fell by 22,000 compared to 4Q19 to record 176,000 vacancies.

Mohd Uzir said the slower labour demand in 4Q20 was also reflected by the smaller number of jobs created at 17,000, largely in the semi-skilled category.

“As Malaysia’s economy contracted 3.4% in 4Q20, labour productivity per employment continued to post a decreasing trend, registering negative 2.9% to RM23,570 per person.

“In line with shorter business operations during the quarter, total hours worked declined 2.7% to 8.6 billion hours. Hence, labour productivity per hour worked decreased by 0.8% to RM42 per hour,” he revealed.

He elaborated further that the preliminary numbers based on the average of quarterly labour force statistics indicated employed persons recorded marginal increase to 15.10 million persons, while number of unemployment edged up to 711,000 persons.

This was attributed to a 4.5% spike in the unemployment rate against an average rate of 3.0% recorded during the pre-crisis period.