Statistics Dept: Unemployment rate at highest level in a decade

PETALING JAYA: The unemployment rate of the country is at its highest in 10 years, according to the Statistics Department of Malaysia.

According to newly released data, the unemployment rate in March 2020 increased to 3.9%, which is the highest recorded in the country since June 2010, when it was at 3.6%.

"The high unemployment rate in March 2020 reflects the negative impact of the movement control order (MCO) on the labour market," chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said when releasing the report Friday (May 8).

In contrast, the unemployment rate for February this year was 3.3%, while March last year had an unemployment rate of 3.4%.

The number of unemployed persons has increased to about 610,000 for this month, compared to 521,000 recorded in the same month in 2019.

The working population in March 2020 was 15.23 million, out of which 2.81 million were self-employed workers, which included traders in markets and freelancers.

"This group of workers were exposed to the risk of unemployment and work losses that affect their income during the MCO, because a portion of them were unable to work," he said.

The high unemployment rate in March has contributed to an overall higher unemployment rate for the first quarter of the year 2020, which was recorded at 3.5%.

The age group that had the highest unemployment rate were those between 15 to 30 years old, at a rate of 6.9%.

On a quarterly basis, the unemployment rate is at its highest since the second quarter of 2017, which recorded a rate of 3.4%.

Comparatively, the unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2019 was recorded at 3.2%.

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