The unemployment rate in Malaysia has continued on its downward trend, lowering by 0.2% from June to settle at 4.7% in July. The number of unemployed persons during the same period has decreased by 28,200 people to 745,100 in total.
The ongoing decrease of the unemployment rate is a welcome trend given the previous spikes during the months of March, April, and finally the record high of 5.3% in May. However, when compared year-on-year, the number of unemployed persons in July 2020 has still increased by 220,300 persons when compared to July 2019.
The number of own-account workers, which are considered the group most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, has decreased by 36,900 month-on-month to 2.38 million persons in July 2020. This group, which comprises mostly of daily wage earners working in markets, freelancers, and smallholders, has been on the continuous decline since April 2020.
On the upside, most economic sectors have posted an increase in employed persons since June 2020 when the recovery movement control (RMCO) took effect. This increase is mostly significant in the services sector, mainly in accommodation, food and beverages, and transport and storage activities. There was also a slight increase in art, entertainment, and recreational activities.
The total labour force increased by 55,000 persons to 15.82 million persons compared to June 2020, buoyed by more sectors including tourism, education, entertainment, and recreation being allowed to operate. Nonetheless, the labour force participation rate (LFPR) in July remained at 68.1%.
“As the pandemic continues to change the economic landscape, the business models continued to be reinvented; subsequently causing shift in job trends,” the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) noted in its report. “In relation to this, the government initiatives on strategic investments may become a catalyst of innovation to encourage the use of technology in cross-sectoral businesses.”