The unemployment rate in Malaysia continued to drop for the third month in a row as 33,300 people joined the labour force in February, the statistics department announced today.
The unemployment rate now stands at 4.8% — a 0.1% decline compared to January.
However, the department also noted the unemployment rate for youths aged 15 to 24 had increased by 0.4% to 13.9% in February, coming up to 347,600 persons. This is a 52,400 increase compared to 295,300 in January this year.
It added that the unemployment rate of youths aged 15 to 30 remained at 9.2%.
Chief statistician Mohd Uzir Mahidin said there were 15.27 million employed persons in February compared to 15.24 million the month before, with the highest increase in workers recorded in the services sector.
This was mainly in the wholesale and retail trade; education; and human health and social work activities sectors. Employment rates in tourism-related industries continued to decline.
“Additionally, the number of employed persons in the manufacturing and construction sectors stayed positive whereas the agriculture and mining & quarrying sectors recorded a reduction,” he said in a statement today.
Uzir said the growth in employment was despite the extension of the movement control order (MCO) in most states in February, and attributed it to the reopening of more sectors as well as the rolling out of the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
He expected the labour situation to continue to improve, noting that the reopening of primary and pre-schools in March was welcome news for school-related activities such as bus services and canteens.
In a Facebook post, former prime minister Najib Razak expressed concern over the rise in unemployed youth aged 15 to 24, questioning whether Putrajaya was enforcing the minimum wage of RM1,200.
“We need to know that nearly 400,000 fresh graduates enter the labour market every year. Will the government still tell them to be thankful when they can’t find jobs or are working with salaries below RM1,200?” – FMT