At the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (6 August), Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali revealed that about 500,000 Malaysians are currently jobless, with the highest rate of unemployment in Labuan (8.6%), followed by Sabah (5.5%) and Terengganu (4.5%), Free Malaysia Today reported.

In a written reply to Zahidi Zainul Abidin (BN-Padang Besar), the minister further divulged that the highest number of unemployed are in the age group of 15 to 24 (10.8%), followed by 25-34 (2.9%), 35-44 (1.1%), 45-54 (1%), and 55-64 (0.4%).

Zahidi had asked Azmin to state the number of unemployed and their qualifications. He also wanted to know the long-term measures to reduce unemployment among youths.

Diploma holders comprised the biggest group of job-seekers followed by SPM holders, Azmin revealed, adding "the highest number of unemployed are from the younger group who are just entering the job market."

When it comes to measures to reduce unemployment, Azmin says it can be done through re-skilling and up-skilling training.

He added: "There are also soft skills training, on-the-job training and professional skill training."

1.36 million employed in Malaysia's informal sector in 2017

Separately, according to the recently released Informal Sector Work Force Survey Report 2017, by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), in 2017, 1.36 million were employed in the informal sector. This comprises 9.4% share of the total employment in Malaysia and 10.6% of employment in the non-agricultural sector.

The annual growth rate of informal sector employment decreased by 1.4% in 2017, compared to an increase of 2.9% in 2015.

By industry, almost two thirds of employment in the informal sector were concentrated in the services industry (62.1%), followed by construction (20.0%), and manufacturing (17.2%).

Within the services industry, 20.5% of informal sector employment came from wholesale and retail trade, and repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles. This was followed by 16% in accommodation and food and beverage service activities, and 8.3% in human health and social work activities.

By gender, 839,200 were men and 524,400 were women. While by strata, 1.12 million people are employed in urban areas, with the remaining 244,000 in rural areas.

By status in employment, a majority of workers in the informal sector at 69.4%, followed by employees (20.4%), unpaid family workers (8.0%), and employers (2.2%).


  • Criteria of informal sector establishment includes establishment not registered with CCM and professional bodies, the size of the establishment is less than 10 workers and all or at least one goods or services produced are meant for sale or barter transactions.
  • The Informal Sector Workforce Survey Report is an annual publication which presents the principal statistics on employment in the informal sector for the working age of 15 to 64 years old by selected demographic and socioeconomic characteristics such as sex, age group, educational attainment, category of occupation and industry.

Infographic / DOSM