Malaysia's Labour Force Statistics has revealed the number of unemployment locals in February 2016 has stayed almost the same since the previous month.

For the third consecutive month, the local unemployment rate was steady at 3.4%.

The percentage was, however, the highest since November 2013.

The report highlighted the rise in the number of unemployed person decelerated to +9.7% year-on-year to 506,000 in February of this year. This was lower than the 11.4% year-on-year increase in January.

Seasonally-adjusted rate was also stable at 3.2% - no change from January 2016.

Total labour force increased at a slower pace +1% year-on-year to 14.7 million while employment growth moderated slightly to +0.7% year-on-year to 14.2 million, the report added.

On a month-to-month basis, all the numbers of labour force, employment and unemployed increased by +0.4%, +0.3% and +1.0% respectively.

In comparison, around 4,600 workers were made redundant in the first quarter (Q1) of 2016 in Singapore.

While this figure was down from 5,370 in Q4 2015, it was still higher than a year ago (3,500), amid ongoing business restructuring.

These layoffs were driven primarily by the services (2,500), manufacturing (1,800), and construction (300) sectors, although manufacturing and construction reported a lower number of layoffs than Q4 2015.

The Star Online reported that Maybank IB Research expects Malaysia's unemployment rate to average 3.5% in 2016, from 3.2% last year.

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"Workers retrenchment in March-April 2016 were dominated by the manufacturing sector. Intel Malaysia plans to cut about 10% of the 13,500 workers in both Penang and Kulim manufacturing plants, in line with Intel US’ announcement on plans to reduce its global workforce by 11% of its entire workforce of about 107,000," it stated.

Earlier last month, British American Tobacco (BAT) announced it is winding down its manufacturing business in Malaysia in stages, in a move expected to affect more than 200 employees.

The shut down of its local factory is expected to be completed by the second half of 2017, and BAT has acknowledged some form of support for the affected staff.

Echoing the move, Malaysian state energy firm PETRONAS also announced last month that it expects to cut about 1,000 jobs.

Affected by the prolonged volatility in oil prices, the company stated the layoffs would take place over the next six months.

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