Business

Labour force grows 0.6 pct in April, lowest since Sept 2014

DOSM said the closure of operations for most of businesses during the MCO which has been extended to April 2020 resulted in the loss of employment and job-seekers could hardly find jobs, with manufacturing and services being the most affected sectors. — Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR: The number of labour force in April 2020 recorded a marginal growth of 0.6 per cent or 99,100 persons to 15.71 million persons, the lowest growth since September 2014, said the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM).

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said on month-on-month basis, the number of labour force decreased 0.8 per cent or 130,700 persons as against March 2020.

The Key Statistics of Labour Force, Malaysia, April 2020, released by the DOSM today provide statistics on labour force, employment and unemployment obtained from the Labour Force Survey (LFS).

Mohd Uzair said the unemployment rate spiked to five per cent as the unemployed persons went up 48.8 per cent as compared to a year ago to 778,800 persons.

“The closure of operations for most of businesses during the Movement Control Order (MCO) which has been extended to April 2020 resulted in the loss of employment and job-seekers could hardly find jobs.

“In April 2020, the working population decreased 156,400 persons (down one per cent) year-on-year to 14.93 million persons,” he told a media briefing on the monthly labour force and rubber statistics here.

He said 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 working population decreased 299,000 (down two per cent) as compared to March 2020 which recorded 15.23 million persons,” he said.

According to the survey, there were 2.59 million persons own account workers in April 2020 largely comprised traders/small traders (farmer’s market, night markets, caterings, stalls, freelancers), smallholders, tour operators, including umrah and tour operators, and others.

“These group of workers were exposed to the risk of job and income losses following the MCO. 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,” he added.

Thus, he said the labour force participation rate (LFPR) in April 2020 declined 0.5 percentage points to 68.1 per cent, due to outflows from labour force to being out of the labour force.

“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, registering 80.3 per cent and 55.1 per cent as compared to March 2020,” he added.

Overall, Mohd Uzair said 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 starting May 5, 2020 as businesses were still not fully in operations. During this period, companies will have the tendency to reduce the size of their employees to ease the burden of the operating costs as they had predicted a decline in their business revenue.

“The Recovery MCO 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 added. — Bernama

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