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Senior Economist Julia Goh and Economist Loke Siew Ting at UOB Group assessed the performance of the labour market in the Malaysian economy.

Key Quotes

“Malaysia’s labour market conditions marginally improved in August, with the unemployment rate holding at 4.7% (Jul: 4.7%). The steady unemployment rate came as the rise in number of persons entering the workforce offset the 3.5k fewer unemployed persons. The labour force participation rate edged up to 68.4% from 68.1% in Jul.”

“Total employment edged above 15.1 million persons, thanks to higher employment in the services sector, particularly wholesale and retail trade, accommodation, foods and beverages, and information and communication. Employment in the manufacturing sector fell by 1.5k, led by food, apparel, plastics, and motor vehicle segments. Key export sectors including electrical and electronics, and rubber products recorded gains in employment albeit smaller.”

“The moderation in employment gains and narrower declines in unemployment, is in sync with other economic data that suggests a slower recovery in Aug. This follows the steep improvements in May-Jul during the initial restart and recovery phase. The recent surge in COVID-19 infections and tightening of Movement Control Order (MCO) in Sabah, Selangor, KL, and Putrajaya, is expected to put a strain on the labour market recovery. The unemployment rate is expected to remain elevated between 4.7%-5.0% in the coming months.”