Malaysia’s manufacturing workforce expands for 1st time in 10 months

Although modest, the rate of job creation was the sharpest since April 2019, S&P Global said 

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysian manufacturers successfully hired additional staff at the end of the third quarter of this year (3Q22), resulting in the first expansion of workforce numbers in 10 months, according to the latest S&P Global Malaysia Manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) survey.

Although modest, the rate of job creation was the sharpest since April 2019, S&P Global said.

“The hiring of additional staff was part of efforts by manufacturers to bear down on backlogs of work, and these plans were further helped by a lack of pressure from new order inflows. 

“Outstanding business, therefore, decreased solidly in September, and to the greatest extent in just under two years,” it said in a note today.

Meanwhile, the seasonally adjusted S&P Global Malaysia Manufacturing PMI moved back below the 50.0 mark in September, posting 49.1 from 50.3 in August.

S&P said the purchasing activity moderated for the first time in four months as firms responded to a lack of customer demand. 

However, the reduction in input buying was only marginal. 

“Lower purchasing and efforts to limit stock holdings fed through to a reduction in pre-production inventories, and one that was the most marked since August 2021. 

“Stocks of finished goods were also down, with manufacturers often favouring the use of existing inventories to meet new order requirements rather than expanding production,” it said.

S&P Global Market Intelligence economics director Andrew Harker said there were further signs in September that the rebound in growth in the Malaysian economy seen earlier in the year could be losing steam as challenging conditions across the global manufacturing sector limited demand and production at Malaysian firms as well. 

“That said, the latest PMI data are still indicative of growth in official data across 3Q22. 

“The main positive from the latest survey was a renewed expansion in employment, helping firms to keep on top of workloads and setting a base to expand output in the future should demand start to regain momentum,” he added. — Bernama / pic by TMR