Malaysia’s unemployment rate at 4.5 per cent in 2020, highest since 1993

KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA) – Malaysia’s unemployment rate increased to 4.5 per cent in 2020, the highest rate since 1993 when the unemployment rate was recorded at 4.1 per cent, the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM) said.

Chief Statistician Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said unemployment rose to 772,900 persons at a rate of 4.8 per cent in December 2020, while the number of employed persons edged up 0.1 per cent month-on-month, equivalent to 19,300 persons, to 15.22 million persons after registering a marginal decrease in the previous month.

“The employment-to-population ratio which indicates the ability of an economy to create employment was unchanged at 65.1 per cent,” he said in a statement on the Statistics of Labour Force for December and fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020.

He said employed persons by status of employment in the employee’s category, which comprised 77.6 per cent of the overall employment, augmented by 0.2 per cent, or 23,500 persons, to 11.81 million persons against the previous month.

Mohd Uzir said own-account workers, which consisted of 15.8 per cent of the overall employment, continued to decrease for the third month by 0.6 per cent to 2.4 million persons in December 2020.

He said this group comprised mostly of daily wage earners working at farmers’ markets, night markets, and stalls, freelancers, as well as smallholders.

“The number of employed persons who were temporarily not working, increased to 146,200 persons as against 142,000 persons in November 2020 due to the implementation of phases of the Movement Control Order (MCO) throughout the whole month, as well as short school break and festive holiday.

“This group of persons, who were most likely not able to work, was not categorised as unemployed as they had work to return to,” he said.

He said the labour market condition was still influenced by the health crisis and economic consequences in December 2020, causing a slower recovery momentum in the labour market.

Mohd Uzir said the labour market remained competitive with the number of labour force increased by 27,800 persons to 15.99 million persons in December 2020 from 15.96 million persons in November 2020.

The number of persons outside labour force registered a decrease of 2,600 persons to 7.37 million persons against November 2020 with the largest composition was due to schooling/ training.

On the labour supply situation for Q4 2020, he said the market condition rose gradually as the labour force and employment situation continued to increase compared with the preceding quarter, recording 15.92 million persons and 15.16 million persons.

During the quarter, there were 533,700 persons who worked less than 30 hours per week due to working conditions or insufficient work as compared to 403,800 persons in third quarter (Q3) 2020.