The unemployment rate in Malaysia has increased by 0.1% since September to stand at 4.7% in October, said the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) in its latest monthly labour force report. It also noted that the number of unemployed individuals rose by 1.5% (10,700 people) to total up to 748,000 people.
In a statement, chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin explained that the labour force has improved at a slower pace in October due to increases in both employed and unemployed persons. Parallel to the increase in the number of unemployed individuals, the number of employed persons also continued its upward trend – which has sustained for five consecutive months – with a marginal growth of 0.1% since September to 15.21 million persons.
DOSM’s monthly report further noted that although most states underwent the conditional movement control order (CMCO) effective 14 October 2020, industrial and business activities were still carried out. As such, the labour market was able to maintain its modest condition, as indicated by the employment-to-population ratio which rose to 65.3% in October.
“As for the status of employment, a higher number was recorded for the employee category in October, with an increase of 28,100 persons to 11.78 million persons compared to the previous month. Own-account workers, on the other hand, decreased by 0.3% to record 2.43 million persons,” said DOSM.
Meanwhile, the number of employed individuals who were temporarily not working rose by 100,700 people to settle at 183,600 persons in September. This is primarily due to the implementation of the CMCO. For context, the country registered the highest number of temporarily non-working individuals during the MCO in April, amounting to 5.9 million people at that time. These people were not categorised as unemployed as they still have jobs to return to.
“Looking at the current situation, with an increasing number of new Covid-19 cases since October 2020, the labour market will continue to face uncertainties. Nevertheless, with the CMCO being lifted in phases starting 7 December, this will partly lead the economic sectors to regain their momentum following higher demand, and subsequently encourage businesses to retain or even increase job opportunities,” said DOSM in the report.
Malaysia had seen all-time high unemployment numbers in March, April, and May due to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the implementation of the MCO. The rate eventually improved gradually in June, July, August, and September.