Malaysia, Labour Force, Employment, Unemployment

At 69.4%, the Q3 2022 LPFR topped pre-pandemic levels and the highest rate previously observed (Q4 2019: 69.1%).

Malaysia's labour force continued to expand in the third quarter of 2022, registering a total of 16.44mn persons — an increase of of 0.6%, or 99,700 persons, from 16.34mn persons in Q2 2022.

Subsequently, the labour force participation rate (LFPR) increased by 0.2pp to mark 69.4% from the previous quarter (69.2%). With this growth, the LFPR in Q3 topped pre-pandemic levels, topping the highest rate previously observed (Q4 2019: 69.1%).

For further comparison, the number of labour force in the third quarter of the previous year had increased by 421,900 persons (Q3 2021: 16.02mn persons), while the LFPR rose by 1.1pp (Q3 2021: 68.3%).

The LFPR for both men and women recorded an increase in Q3 2022, reaching 82.1% and 55.8% respectively (Q2 2022: 81.8%; 55.8%). By age group, men in the labour force between the ages of 35 to 44 years held the highest LFPR at 97.7%, followed by those between the ages of 45 to 54 years (95.1%) and 25 to 34 years (94.7%). Meanwhile, the highest LFPR for women was recorded by those in the age group of 25 to 34 years (78.6%). This is then followed by the age group of 35 to 44 years (72.0%) and age group of 45 to 54 years (55.2%)

Overall, the number of men in the labour force during this quarter rose by 78,000 persons to record 10.06mn, comprising a share of 61.2% of the overall labour force (Q2 2022: 61.1%, 9.98mn persons). At the same time, the number of women in the labour force increased to 6.39mn persons (+21,600 persons) contributing 38.8% of the labour force.

The employment-to-population ratio, which is indicative of the ability of an economy to create employment, edged up by 0.3pp to 66.8% from 66.5% in Q2 2022. Meanwhile, the number of those outside the labour force continued to decline by 7,900 persons during this quarter, to record 7.25mn persons (Q2 2022: 7.26mn persons).

In terms of employment, employed persons continued to grow during the quarter, with an additional 129,900 persons, or 0.8%, to a total of 15.83mn persons (Q2 2022: 15.70mn persons). Compared to the same quarter the previous year, employed persons grew by 3.6%, or equivalent to 556,200 persons (Q3 2021: 15.27mn persons).

Particularly, men accounted for 61.2% of employed person at 9.69mn persons, whereas women accounted for 38.8%, or equivalent to 6.14mn persons. By age group, the number of employed persons largely comprised of those between 25 to 34 years, with 33.8% (5.35mn persons). This was then followed by those aged between 35 to 44 years at 25.8% (4.08mn persons), and those between 45 to 54 years with 16.5%  (2.62mn persons). Meanwhile, 15.8% (2.50mn persons) of the total employed persons were youth aged between 15 to 24 years.

By educational attainment, employed persons with secondary education recorded the highest share, with 56.6% (8.96mn persons). Next, employed persons with tertiary education ranked second, making up a share of 31.6% or 5mn persons.

Looking at unemployment, the number of unemployed persons continued to decline in Q3 2022 with a reduction of 30,200 persons ,or equivalent to negative 4.7% from 611,800 persons (Q2 2022: 642,000 persons). Consequently, a lower unemployment rate was recorded in the quarter at 3.7% as against in the previous quarter (3.9%).

On a year-on-year comparison, the unemployment rate reduced by 1.0pp, or 134,400 persons, as compared to the same quarter of the preceding year (Q3 2021: 4.7%; 746,200 persons).

By category of unemployment, those who were available for work and were actively seeking jobs (the actively unemployed) made up 87.3% of the total unemployed persons. This category dropped by 33,500 persons, recording 534,000 persons from the previous quarter (Q2 2022: 88.4%; 567,500 persons). Concurrently, the inactively unemployed continued to increase with an addition of 1.1pp to record 12.7%, or 77,8 00 persons (Q2 2022: 11.6%; 74,500 persons).

In Q3 2022, the number of those outside the labour force decreased by 0.1% (7,900 persons) as compared to the previous quarter, totalling 7.25mn persons (Q2 2022: 7.26mn persons). Comparing with the same quarter of the preceding year, the number of those outside the labour force also fell by 2.4%, or equivalent to 179,500 persons (Q3 2021: 7.43mn persons).

This number was largely made up of women, which comprised of 69.7% (5.05mn persons). At the same time, men made up 30.3% (2.20mn persons) or the number. Housework/family responsibilities were the main reasons for those outside the labour force, encompassing 43.1% (3.13mn persons) of the total. This was followed by schooling/training, with a percentage share of 41.2%, or 2.99mn persons.


Photo / Department of Statistics Malaysia 

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