Malaysia could be seeing the highest unemployment figure in the history -higher than both the 1998 Asian financial crisis and the 2009 global financial crisis combined. According to the statistic revealed by the Department of Statistics, Malaysia reported a 17.1% increase in unemployed persons to 610,500 in March 2020 as compared to last year figure, 521,300.
The unemployment rate in March 2020 increased to 3.9%
The MCO enforced on March 18 saw many sectors and services closed for several weeks before the government allows all business sectors to resume after May 12.
Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said in a statement that the highest unemployment rate in the country was recorded at 7.4%. He added the labour force in March fell by 0.2% to 15.84 million persons from February 2020.
During the same period, employed persons decreased by 0.7% to 15.23 million persons. 2.81 million persons from the total number were own account workers such as small traders, entrepreneurs (pasar tani, night market, catering, freelancers etc) who earn daily income.
“They were exposed to the risk of unemployment and work loss that can affect income during the MCO because partly were unable to work or run their business.”
Youth age group of 15-30 years recorded the highest rate
In the first quarter 2020, the unemployment rate was the highest ever recorded since the second quarter of 2017. The number of unemployed was 546,600 persons, increased 5.8% as compared to the same quarter last year.
“Out of the total number of unemployed, graduate unemployment accounted for 29.3%. The increase in the unemployment rate can be attributed to the negative impacts caused by the MCO. The unemployment category for the youth age group of 15 to 30 years recorded the highest unemployment rate (6.9%) followed by 31 to 45 years (1.4%) and age group 46 to 64 (1.1%), ” he said.
On the other hand, wholesale and retail sales recorded a negative growth of 5.7% in March 2020 against the same period last year. It is said that this was the lowest growth registered since February 2013.
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