However, with the impact of the MCO and full lockdown, the employment-to-population ratio dropped to 65% (Q1: 65.3%), with an increase observed in the country's outside labour force (109,600 more people).

Malaysia's labour market took a hit in Q2 2021, following a spike in COVID-19 cases which resulted in both a nationwide movement control order in mid-May and a full lockdown in June, the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) has shared. 

According to the Principal Statistics of Labour Force, Malaysia, Second Quarter 2021, the second quarter of 2021 also saw a 0.2% drop in labour force (36,000 persons) to record 15.97mn persons, down from 16.01mn persons in recorded in Q1.

At the same time, the country's employment-to-population ratio, which indicates the ability of an economy to create employment, fell to 65.0% (Q1 2021: 65.3%). Meanwhile, the outside labour force (persons not classified as employed or unemployed) registered an increase of 109,600, to 7.43mn persons.

On a year-on-year (y-o-y) comparision, there were 286,700 more people in the labour force in Q2 2021 (15,972,200, vs 15,675,500 in Q2 2020); while the labour force participation rate saw a 0.2 percentage point (pp) increase.

Apart from the above, DOSM also showcased statistics on unemployment and employment over the quarter, as detailed below:

Unemployment rate in Q2 remained at 4.8%, for third consecutive quarter

The unemployment rate in Q2 2021 remained at 4.8%, the same since Q4 2020, with a decrease of 7,000 persons, to record 764,900 unemployed persons in the quarter. In Q1, this number stood at 771,800 persons.

When compared y-o-y, the unemployment rate this time is lower - down 0.3pp from the 5.1% recorded in Q2 2020.

Among the unemployed persons, close to nine in 10 (86.7%, or 663,400) were actively unemployed, a 3.8pp increase from the previous quarter (82.9%). 

While this was so, there was a drop in the number of inactively unemployed persons (also cited as the 'discouraged group'), from 131,700 in Q1, to 101,600 in Q2 (a decline of 30,200 persons).

[Note: 'Actively unemployed' refers to all persons who did not work during the reference week but were available for work and actively looking for work during the reference week. 'Unactively employed' is described here.] 

The number of employed persons decreased slightly by 0.2% in Q2

Per the statistics, there were lesser people employed in Q2 2021, down 0.2% (29,200) from the previous quarter. In specific, there were 15.21mn people employed in Q2, down from 15.24mn in Q1 2021.

Breaking down the data:

  • There were 9.29mn men employed, making up 61.1% of the total numbers, while women accounted for 38.9% with 5.92mn employed.
  • The largest composition of employed persons was aged between 25 to 34 (33.6%) while youth aged 15 to 24 contributed 14.9%.
  • By educational attainment, a majority of the employed persons had attained secondary education (52.5%, or 7.99mn persons). This share had decreased by 1.5pp from previous quarter (Q1 2021: 54.0%, or 8.23mn persons).
  • In contrast, the share of employed persons with tertiary education improved by 1.9pp, to 34.8% recorded (5.29mn persons). In Q1, these figures stood at 32.9% and 5.01mn persons.

Photo / DOSM

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