Learning & Development Asia 2024
Malaysia's unemployment rate remained unchanged in May 2024

Malaysia's unemployment rate remained unchanged in May 2024

While the unemployment rate remained at 3.3%, the number of unemployed persons dipped slightly by 0.1% (-300 persons), representing 566,100 persons.

Malaysia's economy grew in May 2024 — largely attributed to improvements in the manufacturing sector and the labour market, controlled inflation rates, and strong trade performance. Malaysia's economy is also seen to be in a better growth trend, which makes the country one of the most attractive destinations for investment purposes.

The continued development of economic activity, driven by strong domestic demand, contributed to a continued increase in employment, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia.

On top of growing tourism activity during the month and its positive spillover effects on tourism-related industries such as wholesale and retail trade, food and beverages, accommodation and the implementation of national projects were also recorded to benefit the labour market in terms of labour demand and supply.

This further allowed many companies and businesses from various sectors to continue expanding, positively impacting the local economy and further boosting the labour market in May 2024. 

Number of employed persons continued on its positive trend

The number of employed persons maintained its growth in May 2024 with a rise of 0.1% (24,100 persons) month-on-month to 16.58mn persons. Compared to the previous month, April 2024 recorded 16.56mn persons.

In terms of seasonally adjusted estimates, the number of employed persons rose by 0.2 % — an increase of 1.8%, or equivalent to 300,400 persons, as against the same month of the previous year (May 2023: 16.28mn persons).

By economic sector, nearly two-thirds of the employed persons were in the services sector, which continued to show an increase, particularly in the wholesales & retail trade, food & beverage services, and information & communication activities. Similarly, the manufacturing, construction, mining & quarrying, and agriculture sectors also recorded a rise in employment.

The employment-to-population ratio, which indicates the ability of the economy to create employment, maintained at 68%, as recorded last month. Accordingly, this ratio rose by 0.4p.p from 67.6% y-o-y.

While the majority of employed persons in May 2024 were in the employees’ category (75.1%), the number of employed persons temporarily not working went down by 1.7% (-1,400 persons) to record 81,000 persons from the previous month (April 2024: 82,400 persons).

Unemployment rate remained unchanged

While the unemployment rate during the month remained unchanged at 3.3%, the number of unemployed persons dipped slightly by 0.1% (-300 persons) representing 566,100 persons in May 2024.

Based on seasonally adjusted terms, the number of unemployed persons decreased by 0.3%, resulting in a 3.3% unemployment rate.

Looking at the numbers year-on-year, the number of unemployed persons was also on a declining trend, with a decrease of 3.2% as compared to 584,600 persons in May 2023. Subsequently, the unemployment rate decreased by 0.2p.p from the 3.5% registered in the same month last year.

By unemployment category:

  • 79.9% of the total unemployed persons in May 2024 were those who were actively seeking jobs or the actively unemployed. This category rose by 0.1%, or 600 persons, to reach 452,000 persons (April 2024: 451,400 persons).
  • Among the actively unemployed, 61.5% were those who were unemployed for less than three months,
  • Those who had been unemployed for more than a year comprised 6.8%.
  • Meanwhile, the inactively unemployed or those who believed that no jobs were available, continued to decline, with a reduction of 0.8% (900 persons) to record 114,000 persons (April 2024: 115,000 persons).

LFPR remained unchanged in May 2024

The number of labour force in May 2024 strengthened further by 0.1%, representing a growth of 23,800 persons, totalling 17.15mn persons in the month (April 2024: 17.12mn persons).

The May labour force participation rate (LFPR) also remained at 70.3%, just as recorded last month. Based on the seasonally adjusted estimates, the number of labour force increased by 0.2 per cent, recording 70.3 per cent of the LFPR.

Year-on-year, the number of labour force rose by 1.7% or equivalent to 281,800 persons (May 2023: 16.86mn persons). In terms of rate, the LFPR increased by 0.3p.p from May 2023 (70.0%).

During the month, the number of labour force for both males and females increased, as the number of male labour force reached 10.48mn persons (April 2024: 10.47mn persons). At the same time, the number of female labour force was recorded at 6.67mn persons compared to the previous month (April 2024: 6.66mn persons).

As for the LFPR, both males and females LFPR stood at 83.2% and 56.65, respectively.


Lead image / Department of Statistics Malaysia

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