Malaysia: Unemployment down to lowest since pandemic in October 2022

KUALA LUMPUR( Dec 9): Unemployment fell to the lowest level since the Covid-19 pandemic in October 2022, reaching 602 thousand persons, the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) reported on Friday (Dec 9).

In the release of labour force statistics for October 2022, chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said: “The optimistic labour force performance in October 2022 reflected the nation’s steady economic fundamentals, resulting from continuously growing economic and social activities.”

This, he said, was coupled with ongoing policy support to buffer the impact of the rising cost of living, and reduce negative risks associated with lingering geopolitical unrest and tightening external financial conditions. The statistics described the labour supply situation based on the Labour Force Survey conducted by the DOSM. 

Mohd Uzir said during the period under review, domestic and international tourism helped boost demand for more labour. As a result, the number in the labour force continued to expand in October, with a month-on-month increase of 0.2% to record 16.68 million persons (September 2022: 16.66 million persons), whereas the labour force participation rate stood at 69.7%. 

The improvement in the number of employed persons continued in October, with a month-on-month rise of 0.2% to register 16.08 million persons (September 2022: 16.05 million persons).  

Meanwhile, the number of unemployed persons posted a decline of 0.5%, recording a lower number of unemployed at 602 thousand persons (September 2022: 605 thousand persons). 

The unemployment rate in October remained at 3.6%, 0.3 percentage point higher than the pre-pandemic level (February 2020: 3.3%). 

Elaborating further on the employment situation, the chief statistician said: “The employees’ category, which was the largest composition of total employed persons with 75.9%, went up by 0.1% to 12.20 million persons in October 2022. 

“A similar trend was observed in own-account workers, with an increase of 0.4% to record 2.83 million persons (September 2022: 2.82 million persons).”  

By economic sector, the services sector continued to record an increase in the number of employed persons, mainly in food and beverage service, wholesale and retail trade, and finance and insurance/takaful activities. Similarly, the number of employed people in the manufacturing, construction and agricultural sectors also recorded increases. Meanwhile, employment in the mining and quarrying sector continued to fall. 

The actively unemployed, or those who were available for work and were actively seeking jobs, encompassed 81.6% of total unemployed persons in October. This group posted a decrease of 1.1 % to 491.3 thousand persons (September 2022: 496.6 thousand persons).  

By the duration of unemployment for the actively unemployed, 60.5% of the actively unemployed were unemployed for less than three months, while 6.3% were unemployed for more than a year. 

Meanwhile, those who believed that no jobs were available, or the inactively unemployed, rose by 2.1% to 110.7 thousand persons (September 2022: 108.4 thousand persons). In October, the unemployment rate of youths aged 15 to 24 years remained at 12.1%, with 337.2 thousand unemployed youths (September 2022: 339.1 thousand persons). 

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate among youths aged 15 to 30 years rose to 7.4%, registering the number of unemployed youths at 476.9 thousand persons (September 2022: 7.1%; 460.4 thousand persons). As for inactive groups, the number of persons outside the labour force continued to show a downward trend since August 2021, decreasing by 0.03% to record 7.24 million persons (September 2022: 7.24 million persons). The majority were outside the labour force due to housework/family responsibilities with a share of 43.3%, followed by schooling/training with 40.9%.