KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 10 — Ambank Research expects the labour market to be challenging this year underpinned by a more moderate economic outlook despite last year’s unemployment rate closing at a healthy rate of 3.3 per cent.
The unemployment rate is expected to inch up to between 3.4–3.6 per cent this year.
In a research note today, it said the labour market remained healthy with the unemployment rate in December at 3.3 per cent, slightly higher than the 3.2 per cent in November.
“The slight uptick was due to a decline in job creation activities, down 29,000 from 49,400 in November and a pick-up in unemployed persons at 3,100 from 1,800 in November.
“But labour force participation rate rose 68.9 per cent in December — the highest since October 2013, from November’s 68.8 per cent,” it said.
Meanwhile, it said the outside labour force — housewives, students, retirees and those inactively looking for a job, eased to 0.1 per cent year-on-year (Y-o-Y) in December from 0.3 per cent Y-o-Y in November.
The research house also forecasted that the fourth quarter (Q4) 2019 gross domestic product growth to hover around 4.3-4.5 per cent, translating to full-year growth of between 4.5 and 4.6 per cent, based on the industrial production averaging 1.3 per cent in the 4Q 2019 year-on-year. — Bernama