Malaysia’s unemployment rate lowest in 18 months

by AZALEA AZUAR / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

MALAYSIA has recorded the lowest unemployment rate this year with only 4.3% in October, the lowest rate since April 2020, according to the Statistics of Labour Force, report by the Department of Statistics Malaysia.

Malaysia’s chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin (picture) said that the continuation of economic and social recreation activities has led to the labour force situation to remain stable in October 2021.

“In October 2021, most of the states had moved into Phase 4 of the National Recovery Plan with the overall increasing vaccination rate, while the number of daily Covid-19 cases is showing a sign of declining.

“These good headways have steered further resumption of economic activities including the permission of interstate travel,” he said in a statement.

With more domestic tourism destinations opening up for fully-vaccinated individuals, it has contributed to more travelling and domestic tourism activities during the month.

The employment rate in October 2021 has increased by 0.6% month-on-month (MoM) to 15.55 million people (September 2021: 15.46 million people) with the employment-to-population ratio rising by 0.3 to record 65.8 September (2021: 65.5%).

Unemployment in October has decreased by 3.4% to 705,000 individuals compared to 729,600 in September 2021.

“Although the number of unemployed persons is on a declining trend, it remains relatively higher than the pre-pandemic period.

“Unemployment in October 2021 dipped to the lowest rate since April 2020 to record 4.3% (September 2021: 4.5%; April 2020: 5%; March 2020: 3.9%),” Mohd Uzir added.

The number of labour force in October this year has increased by 0.4% to 16.26 million people MoM compared to 16.19 million people in the preceding month with the labour force participation rate stepped up further by 0.2% points to 68.8% (September 2021: 68.6%).

The employment in manufacturing and construction sectors remained positive for the third month while the agriculture and mining and quarrying sectors are still on a decreasing trend.

The employees category made up 77% of total employed persons and this sustained the positive growth in October 2021 by 0.4% or 11.97 million people.

The own-account workers category which mainly consists of workers who earn on a daily basis as small business operators and smallholders has increased by 1.4% to 2.61 million people.

The number of outside labour force has dropped by 0.6% to register 7.36 million people while the largest composition of outside labour force was due to schooling/ training which comprised 42.6% followed by housework/family responsibilities category with a share of 40.7%.

Mohd Uzir also believed that the relaxation of interstate travel is anticipated to bring a positive influence to the domestic tourism-related industry including arts, transportation, entertainment and recreational activities to regain the business momentum.

According to United Overseas Bank Ltd’s Global Economics and Market Research report, Malaysia’s labour market kept its recovery momentum for the third straight month in October, with record improvement across all indicators.

“Despite the emergence of the new Omicron variant potentially throwing a wrench into the nation’s economic recovery, we believe that the continuation of government policy support alongside positive vaccination progress and extra precautionary measures to help prevent the spread of new virus variants would be able to sustain the labour market recovery going into 2022,” the report stated.

Business sentiment has also improved following further economic re-opening across the whole country, with Malaysian Employers Federation’s Salary Survey projecting over 4% increases in the average salary and higher bonus pay-out for executives and non-executives in 2022.

“We maintain our year-end unemployment rate forecasts of 4.2% for 2021 (2020: 4.8%; 2019: 3.3%) and 3.6% for 2022,” the report, authored by Julia Goh and Loke Siew Ting, added.