KUALA LUMPUR, May 21 — The labour market in the first quarter experienced a recovery despite targeted containment measures to manage the Covid-19 crisis at the beginning of the year, the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) said.
The labour market scenario in Q1 2021 has not returned to levels from pre-Covid-19 times although slower declines were observed for most of the indicators, which the department said signalled recovery momentum.
“In Q1 2021, the number of employed persons recorded a slight year-on-year decline by 7,000 persons to 15.24 million persons with the employment-to-population ratio dropped 1.1 percentage points to 65.3 per cent.
“The unemployment rate stood at 4.8 per cent compared to 3.5 per cent in Q1 2020,” DOSM said.
Unlike Q1 2020 when the movement control order (MCO) had forced closures of most economic activities as well as national and interstate borders, the DOSM said Q1 2021 saw more states being in recovery MCO while several others were in conditional MCO.
“Along with this, most of the economic activities continued to operate in compliance with strict standard operating procedures (SOPs).
“Hence, the number of time-related underemployment fell 19.0 per cent (-72.2 thousand persons) as against Q1 2020 as more businesses resumed normal operation hours by mid-February 2021,” the department said.
The DOSM also found that the economic sector recorded a total of 8.437 million jobs in Q1 2021 dropped 1.5 per cent as compared to Q1 2020.
“The rate of filled jobs shrank by 0.2 percentage point to 97.9 per cent.
“On the contrary, the rate of vacancies increased to 2.1 per cent from 1.9 per cent in Q1 2020 to record 178 thousand vacancies.
“Besides, there were 17.4 thousand jobs created in the private sector during the quarter,” the department said.
The DOSM added that Malaysia’s gross domestic product declined 0.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2021 while total hours worked reduced by 0.9 per cent, whereas labour productivity per hour worked increased 0.4 per cent.
“Meanwhile, labour productivity per employment declined 0.4 per cent,”
In the last few days, the number of cases have surged past 6,000 daily and the death toll exceeded 2,000 cases.
The government has since warned against a full-scale lockdown to prevent further spreading of the Covid-19 virus.