UOB Group’s Senior Economist Julia Goh and Economist Loke Siew Ting assess the latest labour market report in the Malaysian economy.
“Malaysia’s labour market recovery continued to gain traction in May, supported by the full reopening of economic and social activities as well as country borders since Apr. Both the labour force participation rate and employment increased further to a fresh high of 69.5% and 15.90mn persons respectively (Apr: 69.4% and 15.85mn persons). This helped to keep the unemployment rate unchanged at 3.9% in May.”
“Record hiring was again propelled by the continuing recruitment in almost all economic sectors, expect for the mining & quarrying industry which recorded a decline in employment for the 22nd straight month. Services sector, which made up about 58% of the national GDP, remained the key driver of overall employment in Malaysia with wholesale & retail trade, information & communication, and food & beverage services sub-sectors taking the lead during the month.”
“Although the labour market showed persistent improvement, it is still unlikely to fully recover back to pre-pandemic levels at this juncture given multiple headwinds on the horizon. Worsening supply chain disruptions, elevated cost and consumer price pressures, as well as mounting fears of global recession may soon see more firms hitting the brakes on recruitment. We reiterate our year-end unemployment rate forecast of 3.6% for 2022 (BNM est: ~4.0%, end-2021: 4.2%, end-2019: 3.3%).”
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