Malaysia Unemployment Rate Dips Slightly To 4.2% In December 2021
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Malaysia’s unemployment rate for December 2021 has eased slightly from the previous month, from 4.3% to 4.2%, according to the latest labour report by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM). This translates to 687,600 unemployed individuals in December 2021, which is a 1% decrease in the number of unemployed persons as compared to 694,400 in November 2021.

With regard to the unemployed category, DOSM’s report noted that those who are actively unemployed – defined as individuals who are actively looking for jobs – make up 83.8% of the group in December 2021. “This group recorded a decrease of 0.9% to 576,500 people. Unemployment for less than three months accounted for 55.9%, while those who were in long-term unemployment for more than a year made up 7.6%,” the report shared, adding that the actively unemployed recorded a drop of 1.3% to 111,100 persons.

Meanwhile, the working population continued to show an upward trend, with a marginal increase of 0.2% month-on-month to 15.65 million people. This is in comparison with November’s figure of 15.61 million persons.

To further break down the total employed persons group, DOSM’s report stated that the employees category – which comprised of 76.8% of the group in December 2021 – has edged up by 0.1% (12.02 million persons) as compared to the 12 million persons recorded in the previous month. The number of own-account workers, too, has increased by 0.5% to 2.64 million persons, in comparison with 2.63 million individuals in November 2021. The remaining number of employed individuals, meanwhile, fell under the unpaid family worker and employer categories.

Aside from that, the report also shared that the number of employed persons who were temporarily not working posted an increase of 12.9% to 126,700 persons as compared to 112,200 persons in November. This is due to the flood disaster which hit the central and east coast regions in the middle of December.

(Image: Samsul Said/Bloomberg)

Commenting on these latest numbers, the chief statistician of DOSM, Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said that the Covid-19 pandemic has impeded the full recovery of Malaysia’s labour market. The implementation of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) has, however, assisted in process of revitalising the country’s economy, and consequently, the labour market.

“Towards the end of 2021, most states were in Phase 4 of the NRP – which allowed more economic and social sectors operating as usual – with compliance to standard operating procedures (SOPs), hence leading the labour force situation to recover modestly. This has steered the healthy growth of employment to continue in December 2021 while unemployment further decreased,” said Datuk Seri Uzir.

(Image: Malay Mail/Shafwan Zaidon)

Aside from the monthly unemployment rate, the latest DOSM report also shared details regarding the labour force in relation to the last quarter of 2021 (4Q21). Among others, it noted that employment during 4Q21 went up by 1.1% (15.44 million persons) as compared to 15.27 million persons in the third quarter of 2021 (3Q21). Meanwhile, the number of unemployed persons reduced to 694,400 persons, equivalent to a 6.9% decrease from the previous quarter (746,200 unemployed persons). This led to an improvement of the unemployment rate for 4Q21, recorded at 4.3% as compared to 4.7% in 3Q21.

Moving forward, Datuk Seri Uzir foresees the labour market to continue recovering in the coming months. However, this does not take into consideration the challenges of new and more dangerous Covid-19 variants.

(Source: DOSM [1, 2])

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