Malaysia's labour force Nov 2021: Unemployed persons below 700,000 for the first time

Malaysia's labour force Nov 2021: Unemployed persons below 700,000 for the first time

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Further, the number of employed persons continued to increase for four consecutive months, with an addition of 55,700 persons (0.4%) month-on-month, recording 15.61mn employed persons.

According to Department of Statistics Malaysia's (DOSM) latest labour force report, employed persons in the country in November 2021 continued to increase for four consecutive months, with an addition of 55,700 persons (0.4%) month-on-month. recording 15.61mn persons. Previously, in October 2021, it was at 15.55mn persons.

Further, the employment-to-population ratio, which indicates the ability of an economy to create employment, went up by 0.2 percentage points (pp) to record 66% in November 2021. The month before, it was at 65.8%. In comparison with the year before, the ratio ascended by 0.9pp in November 2020 at 65.1%.

By economic sector, the report revealed that the upward trend of employment in services sector persisted mainly in:

  • The wholesale & retail trade;
  • The food & beverages services; and
  • The transport & storage activities.

A similar trend was observed in manufacturing, and construction sectors. Employment in agriculture, and mining & quarrying sectors, however, remained decreased.

The employment statistics

During November 2021, the employees’ category, which accounted for 76.9% of the total employed persons, continued to climb by 0.2% (an addition of 27,100 persons) recording 12mn persons. When in October 2021, it was at 11.97mn persons.

Likewise, the own-account workers' category—which consists mostly of daily income earners working as small business operators such as retailers; hawkers; sellers in markets and stalls, as well as smallholders—continued to trend up in November by 0.8% (an addition of 20,100 persons) to record 2.63mn persons. One month prior, it was at 2.61mn persons.

"The positive growth in both categories sustained, thus reflecting the continuity of the business activities during the month," noted the report.

The number of employed persons who were temporarily not working during the month continued to register a negative growth for the second month to 112,200 persons as compared to 122,700 persons in the preceding month. Looking at year-on-year comparison, this category recorded a reduction of 29,800 persons (November 2020: 142,000 persons). This group, who were most likely not able to work, was not categorised as unemployed as they had work to return to.

The unemployment statistics

Speaking of unemployed persons, in November 2021, this number reduced to below 700,000 persons "for the first time". This figure was the lowest since April 2020, with a decrease of 1.5% month-on-month (which equates to a reduction of 10,600 persons) to 694,400 unemployed persons. In October 2021, the figure was at 705,000 persons.

In terms of the unemployment rate for the month, it was 4.3%—unchanged from October 2021, as the report noted "more in the inactivity group were searching for jobs".

By comparing with the same month of the previous year, the unemployment rate dropped by 0.5pp (November 2020: 4.8%), while the number of unemployed persons fell by 9.2% (equivalent to 70,000 persons). In real numbers, in November 2020, it was recorded at 764,400 persons.

Further analysing the unemployment category, the report revealed that 83.8% of the total unemployed persons were the actively unemployed, or those who were available for work and were actively seeking jobs. This category declined by 1.3% (7,800 persons) to register at 581,800 persons, when in October 2021 it registered at 589,500 persons. In terms of the duration of the unemployment, 55.7% were unemployed for less than three months, while 7.8% were those who were in long-term unemployment of more than a year.

For those who believed that there were no jobs available or were inactively unemployed, the number dropped by 2.5% (2,800 persons) to 112,600 persons. In the previous month, it was at 115,400 persons.

Splitting the category into age demographics, in November 2021, the youth unemployment rate for aged 15 to 24 years reduced by 0.2pp to record 13.7% after registering 13.9% since August 2021. The number of unemployed youths decreased by 7,900 persons (a decrease of 2.2%) to 350,900 persons. A month before, it was at 358,800 persons). The unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 30 years, however, recorded a marginal increase of 0.1pp month-on-month to register 8.2%, a 0.1% increase previously (October 2021: 8.1%).

ICYMI: Malaysia's labour force Oct 2021: Growth in employment and participation rate

Image / DOSM

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