KUALA LUMPUR (April 22): Malaysia’s labour market is seen growing marginally in 2021 in a Covid-19-driven challenging environment as factors including the pandemic's vaccination programme and government support for businesses are expected to accelerate the revival of the country's labour market, where unemployment rose to 4.5% in 2020 from 3.3% a year earlier, the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) said today.
In a statement today, DOSM chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the continuous economic recovery path in 2021, backed by various initiatives by the government to support the survival of businesses as well as the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme, may reduce the burden on businesses.
"In turn, it could assist in restoring and accelerating the revival of the labour market. Thus, it is foreseen that Malaysia’s labour market will continue to grow marginally this year, albeit in a challenging environment due to the uncertainty of the health crisis situation in Malaysia.
“Observing the situation in 2021, Covid-19 daily new cases continued to record a high number. While various phases of MCO 2.0 (movement control order 2.0) [were] implemented continuously to curb the spread of the pandemic, some relaxation for economic activities to operate were permitted with compliance to strict standard operating procedures.
"Hence, this might help businesses in maintaining their momentum as well as balance the [country’s] economic consequences and health interest,” Mohd Uzir said.
Looking back, Mohd Uzir said today that throughout 2020, the global labour market was in uncertainty due to Covid-19, which resulted in job losses and reduction in working hours as well as source of income for many people amid pandemic-driven strict containment measures adopted by many countries to curb the outbreak.
He said Malaysia was no exception as the global community faced the economic and social impact of Covid-19, which resulted in Malaysia’s unemployment rate reaching above 4% for the first time in almost three decades.
"During the health crisis, the [country's] monthly unemployment rate was hovering between 3.9% and 5.3% [as the country] recorded an addition of more than 200,000 unemployed persons.
"The resumption of more business activities with adherence to a strict standard operating procedure despite the continuity of the MCO towards the end of the year had helped in balancing the [people's] health interest with economic and business recovery.
"Thus, a modest recovery momentum was observed in the labour force towards the end of 2020,” he said.