Unemployment rate in April dips but concerns over current lockdown

Compliance to the SOP being observed: Clear roads in Bandar Sunway during the first day of the total lockdown. — ART CHEN/The Star.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s unemployment rate slipped to 4.6% in April, the lowest since October last year, on easing curbs for the economy but the impact of the MCO 3.0 and the two-week lockdown from June 1 to 14 may weigh on the recovery.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Statistics Department said April's unemployment rate at 4.6% or 742, 700 unemployed persons, an improvement from 4.7% in March.

In its Statistics of Labour Force for April, it said the number of unemployed persons reduced by 10, 500 persons (-1.4%) month-on-month to 742, 700 (March 2021: 753, 000 persons).

In addition, the actively unemployed, defined as those who were available for work and were actively seeking job, encompassed of more than 80% of the total unemployed person.

Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said Malaysia’s labour force continued to be on a recovery path in April 2021 as the Recovery Movement Control Order (MCO) in most states and Conditional MCO gave more opportunities for businesses to continue their activities in full capacity while adhering to strict standard operating procedures.

“Better business outlook was also reflected by the performance of Leading Index (LI) for March 2021whichposted an increase of 1.8% month-on-month (February 2021: 1.1%).

“Hence, the labour force in April 2021 recorded month-on month increase of 0.1% or an addition of 12, 200 persons to record 16.09 million persons (March 2021: 16.08 million persons).

“The labour force participation rate (LFPR) for the month stood at 68.6%, ” he said.

“The number of employed persons remained in an increasing trend with month-on-month gain of 22.7 thousand persons to post 15.35 million persons (March 2021: 15.33 million persons).

Mohd Uzir said the employment-to-population ratio which indicates the ability of an economy to create employment remained unchanged at 65.4% in April 2021.

Services registered an upward trend in the number of employed persons during the month largely in wholesale & retail trade; food and beverages services; education; and human health & social work activities.

Similar trends were also observed in the manufacturing and construction sectors.

However, the agriculture and mining & quarrying sectors continued to decline month-on-month.

The largest composition of employed persons was the employee’s category which comprised of 77.9% and this was an increase of 17, 200 persons month-on-month to register 11.96 million persons (March 2021: 11.95 million persons).

Mohd Uzir said own-account workers registered an addition of 12,300 persons to record 2.49 million persons in April (March 2021: 2.48 million persons).

However, when comparing with the 12 months earlier, the number of employed persons continued its upward changes for two consecutive months, registering a stronger year-on-year growth of 2.8% (March 2021: 0.6%; April 2020: -1.0%) or an addition of 418, 600 (April 2020: 14.93 million persons).

He also pointed out the government imposed a lockdown from June 1 to 14 due to the spike in Covid-19 at the end of May where all economic and social sectors except for essential economic and service sectors were closed.

“Labour market condition is foreseen to face another challenging situation in the upcoming months but with the provision of various assistances by the government may cushion the impact and subsequently restore the labour market condition, ” he said.

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