KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 — The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) recorded 166,000 job vacancies in the private sector in the first quarter (Q1) 2020, a decrease of 35,000 compared to a year ago.
However, it said the effect of the movement control order (MCO) to contain the spread of Covid-19, was not fully reflected in the labour demand for Q1 since it was only implemented during the last two weeks of March 2020.
Chief Statistician Malaysia Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the vacancies rate for the quarter under review fell below two per cent to 1.9 per cent, compared to 2.3 per cent in the fourth quarter (Q4) 2019 due to cautionary steps taken by the industry amid slower economic performance of the country.
“Job vacancies were predominantly in the semi-skilled category with 52.3 per cent while skilled category represented 25.7 per cent,” he said in a statement today.
For the first time, the rate of filled jobs reached 98.1 per cent after consistently recording between 97.1 per cent and 97.7 per cent, translating into 8.4 million jobs in the quarter.
“Nonetheless, the increase of 51,000 filled jobs in this quarter was lower compared to the annual increases of the previous quarters in 2019 which ranged from 83,000 to 128,000.
“Filled jobs in both skilled and semi-skilled categories recorded slight increases while low-skilled category declined,” he said.
Mohd Uzir said 19,000 jobs created, mostly in the first two months of 2020, despite slower economic momentum in the quarter.
However, he said the number of jobs created decreased by 4,000 from 23,000 in the same quarter of the previous year.
“In term of skilled category, 48.3 per cent was skilled jobs while another 45.7 per cent were in semi-skilled category,” he said.
On labour demand by economic sector, he said services sector, which is the largest contributor to Malaysia’s economy, demanded 51.9 per cent (4.4 million) of total jobs, largely in the wholesale and retail trade (34.9 per cent) and finance, insurance, real estate and business services sub-sectors (21.1 per cent).
Manufacturing sector he said, accounted for 26.3 per cent of job demand or 2.3 million jobs, with the highest number of jobs was in the electrical, electronic and optical products sub-sector (26.2 per cent), followed by petroleum, chemical, rubber and plastic products (18.4 per cent) and non-metallic mineral products, basic metal and fabricated metal products (15.5 per cent).
He added that the number of jobs in the construction sector was 1.3 million, representing 15.2 per cent of the total jobs while jobs in agriculture and mining and quarrying comprised of 5.6 per cent (483,000) and 0.9 per cent (80,000) respectively.
As a whole said Mohd Uzir, Q1 of this year experienced a softer labour demand coincided with the spread of Covid-19 pandemic and the government’s reactions to contain the virus.
“This unprecedented event put workers at risk of pay cut while job seekers are expected to face most challenging times in securing employment as the labour demand shrunk.
“It is foreseen that Malaysia’s labour market will soften further in the second quarter of 2020 due to the impact of the extended phases of the MCO until May 3 followed by the conditional MCO until June 9,” he said.
Mohd Uzir said on top of that, slower global demand would give added pressure to the labour market which would lessen labour demand particularly in the international trade and tourism-related industries.
“In this regards, quick adjustment to the labour market disequilibrium is essential to increase demand for jobs and consequently reduce unemployment,” he said.
Economic stimulus measures implemented by the government he said, are opportune to ease the burdens and facilitate swift recovery of businesses.
“Subsequently, it is hoped that this will cushion the negative impact on Malaysia’s labour market as the industry creates more jobs opportunity appropriate with this new normal,” he added. — Bernama