Malaysia’s jobless rate climbs to 5.6% in May

(FOCUS MALAYSIA) – Malaysia’s unemployment rate climbed to 5.3% or 826,100 people in May, the Department of Statistics Malaysia said today.

“The unemployment rate further escalated 0.3 percentage points month-on-month to 5.3% as the number of unemployed persons went up by 47,300 to 826,100 persons,” chief statistician Mohd Uzir Mahidin (pic) said in a statement today.

But the monthly change of unemployed people for the month under review was “very much lower” than the change registered from March to April at 168,300, said Uzir.

“The reduction could partly be due to the implementation of numerous stimulus packages reaching its intended target in addition to more businesses allowed to operate following the conditional movement control order during the month,” he added.

According to Uzir, economic indicators for May 2020 showed improvement as compared to April 2020 and these signalled that the economy is gradually improving. “Following this, despite the continuous negative trend in the labour supply up to May 2020, this situation has improved considerably as compared to April 2020,” he said.

Further, Uzir expected that as the recovery movement control order took effect on June 10 onwards, business conditions would gradually recover as more sectors are allowed to open with strict standard operating procedures. “The implementation may allow businesses to regain their momentum, while new business opportunities emerge as demand changes amid the new norm,” he said.

The labour force situation in June was expected to slightly improve while further progress in the medium-term up to the second half of 2020 had been “deemed possible,” Uzir said.

“Through various initiatives by the government, in addition to new creative businesses models innovated, the labour market may find its way to a recovery path,” he added.

Malaysia’s May 2020 labour force rose by 1,800 people to 15.71 million people from a month earlier. Year-on-year, the May 2020 labour force recorded an increase of 71,700 persons, Uzir said.

“The labour force participation rate in May 2020 stood at 68.1%, registering a decline of 0.1 percentage point month-on-month as outflows into outside labour force continued to increase,” he added.

“As for outside labour force in May 2020, (the segment) increased 0.6%, recording inflows of 47,000 persons as against April 2020. This brought the total number to 7.39 million persons.

“The largest share of 43.4% was outside labour force due to housework/family responsibilities, with the number in this category increasing by 1% from April 2020. This was followed by a share of 39.1% who were schooling,” Uzir said.