Malaysia’s Unemployment Rate In November 2020 Increases Slightly To 4.8%

Menara Kuala Lumpur Tower with sunset sky. Aerial view of Kuala Lumpur Downtown, Malaysia. Financial district and business centers in urban city in Asia. Skyscraper and high-rise buildings at noon.

The unemployment rate in Malaysia has increased marginally by 0.1% since October to settle at 4.8% for the month of November 2020, the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) revealed. The latest data also showed that the number of unemployed persons has increased by 2.2% (16,200 people) since last month, coming up to a total of 764,400 persons now.

According to chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin, the small increase in unemployment rate in November was primarily due to the implementation of the conditional movement control order (CMCO) across the country following the third wave of Covid-19. While economic activities continued to go on, the strict standard operating procedure (SOP) and tough economic environment may have led to job losses and the cancellation or freezing of new hires.

(Image: The Edge Markets)

DOSM’s figures also showed that the number of actively unemployed persons – defined as unemployed individuals who are actively job-searching – went up by 2.3% to 637,700 persons from October 2020. “Likewise, the inactively unemployed or discouraged group who believed there were no jobs available increased by 1.3% to 126,700 persons (October 2020: 125,100 persons),” said the report.

Meanwhile, the number of employed persons dipped by 11,000 individuals from October to 15.2 million persons in November 2020. Those in the employee category increased by 0.2% to 11.78 million persons, whereas own-account workers (self-employed individuals) dropped by 0.6% to 2.41 million persons.

DOSM’s report also noted that the overall growth in labour force since October was almost flat, with an addition of 5,200 new individuals to record a total of 15.96 million persons in November. In addition to this, the labour force participation rate fell by 0.1% to 68.4% since October. Meanwhile, the number of persons outside the labour force increased by 0.4% to 7.37 million individuals. “Among others, the increase may be due to persons taking a break in job-seeking for family reasons,” said the report.

In light of the continuous uncertainty in the economic and health situations – both internationally and domestically – DOSM predicted that this softer trend of labour demand may continue in December 2020. “Meanwhile, the labour supply will remain competitive in this challenging situation,” said the report.

The unemployment rate in Malaysia had earlier reached an unprecedented height in March, April, and May 2020, brought on by the implementation of the MCO in a bid to combat the spread of Covid-19. It eventually improved during the latter half of the year in June, July, August, and September, before increasing slightly again in October.

(Source: DOSM)

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