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DOSM: Number of unemployed down to 580,700 in 2023

Publish date: Fri, 23 Feb 2024, 11:35 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 23): The number of unemployed individuals dropped to 580,700 in 2023, the lowest since the pandemic, while the unemployment rate stood at 3.4%, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia’s (DOSM) fourth quarter 2023 labour market review released on Friday.

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin, in a statement, said this reflected the improving economic developments throughout the fourth quarter (4Q) of 2023, with the labour force participation rate rising 0.6% year-on-year, maintaining a high rate of 70.1% compared to the previous quarter.

“The labour force increased by 2. % to record 16.91 million individuals in 4Q, primarily driven by the rise of 2.5 % in employed individuals, which accounted for 16.35 million individuals,” he said.

He further said that higher domestic demand has created a favourable environment for industries, resulting in increased production that is attributed to the expansion of the economy of nearly all sectors.

“This eventually contributes to a strengthened demand for labour despite the challenging external environment.

“Therefore, Malaysia’s economy grew by 3% in the 4Q2023, slightly lower than 3.3% from the preceding quarter,” he said.

Commenting on the underemployment situation, Mohd Uzir said the number of individuals who worked less than 30 hours per week increased by 6.6% compared to 4Q2022, with a total of 286,100 individuals.

On the other hand, skill-related underemployment, which indicated those with tertiary education but were employed in semi-skilled and low-skilled occupation categories, increased by 2.4% year-on-year to record 1.94 million individuals with a rate of 37.4%, comprising more than one-third of employed individuals with tertiary education.

In the meantime, he said Malaysia’s labour demand continued to improve during the quarter, indicated by a 0.6% growth in the number of jobs created to meet industry needs, encompassing 31,100 jobs.

Commenting on the overall performance of the labour market for 2023, Mohd Uzir said preliminary estimates based on monthly average data showed that the number of employed individuals increased by 6% to 16.31 million (2022: 3.1%; 15.39 million).

He said the labour force also expanded by 5.4% to 16.89 million individuals, whereas the participation rate went up by 0.7 percentage points to 70%.

Despite facing external challenges in 2023, labour demand strengthened as jobs in the economic sector increased to 8.94 million.

“A total of 126,500 jobs were created in 2023, surpassing the figures recorded in 2022 (116,700) and 2021 (69,500),” the statement read.

Meanwhile, Mohd Uzir said Malaysia’s economy is expected to improve in 2024, driven by resilient domestic expenditure and recovery in external demand.

Under those circumstances, the labour market is expected to remain stable in the upcoming quarter, corresponding to the current economic developments and technological advances resulting from high-value investments supported by ongoing government initiatives.

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