Jobless persons in Malaysia rose by 48.8% to 778,800 in April during MCO

The number of unemployed persons in Malaysia spiked by 48.8% to 778,800 in April and the overall unemployment rate increased to 5% as the economy felt the full impact from the lockdown during the Movement Control Order (MCO).

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said on Monday the closure of operations for most of businesses during the MCO had impacted employment and jobseekers could hardly find jobs. “In April 2020, the working population decreased by 156,400 persons (-1.0%) year-on-year to 14.93 million persons.

“The most affected employed persons were in the manufacturing and services sectors namely accommodation and food & beverage; arts, entertainment & recreation and other services such as beauty centres and salons. “Month-on-month, the number of the working population decreased by 299,000 (-2%) as compared to March’s 15.23 million persons, ” he said.

According to the survey, there were 2.59 million persons own account workers in April largely comprising traders/ small traders (farmer’s market/ night markets/ caterings/ stalls/ freelancers) smallholders, tour operators including umrah & tour operators and others. These group of workers were exposed to the risk of job and income losses following the MCO. Mohd Uzir said from the survey, MCO has affected 4.87 million employed persons who were not working in April 2020. “However, this group of people was not categorised as unemployed as they have work to return to.”

The number of labour force in April recorded a marginal growth of 0.6 per cent (+99.1 thousand persons) to 15.71 million persons, the lowest growth since September 2014. Month-on-month, the number of labour force decreased 0.8% (-130,700 persons) as against March. Thus, the labour force participation rate (LFPR) in April 2020 declined 0.5 percentage points to 68.1%. The decrease of LFPR during the month was due to outflows from labour force to being out of the labour force. He said the last time Malaysia posted LFPR at 68.1 per cent was in December 2017. Male and female LFPR also decreased 0.4 percentage points and 0.5 percentage points respectively by registering 80.3% and 55.1% as compared to March.

“All sectors of the economy were affected during the Phase 2 and 3 of MCO in April 2020 especially for the non-essential services. Malaysia’s labour market in May 2020 is expected to be further affected following the Conditional MCO (CMCO) starting May 5,2020 as businesses were still not fully in operation. During this period, companies will have the tendency to reduce the size of their employees to ease the burden of the operating costs despite predicted a decline in their business revenue. “Recovery MCO (RMCO) kicked off on June 10,2020 where reactivation of businesses for more sectors and inter-state travels are allowed. These are predicted to spur businesses and steer the improvement of job market, especially in the travel and tourism related industries, ” he said.


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