KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 — The labour market is expected to continue its robust performance in the near term and throughout 2024, underpinned by expected economic improvements, with gross domestic product projected at 4.9 per cent next year, said Kenanga Research.

The research firm had raised its forecast for the country’s economic growth to 4.9 per cent from the 3.5-4.0 per cent in 2023.

“The labour market is expected to benefit from improved domestic and international markets in the near term, as evidenced by improvement in the latest manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) and softer contraction in exports.

“This will be further supported by robust domestic demand, driven by resilient household spending towards the year-end and festive season alongside the influx of tourist arrivals,” it said in a note today.

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The firm noted that additionally, the ongoing freeze on foreign worker intake is set to boost local hiring and salaries.

This will be reinforced by the government’s upcoming Progressive Wage Model (PWM), aimed at raising wages for low and semi-skilled workforce.

Government projections suggest that the PWM could reduce the unemployment rate by up to 0.35 per cent.

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On Friday, the Department of Statistics released the unemployment statistics for October, reporting that the number of unemployed persons in Malaysia slipped 0.5 per cent to 570,999, while the unemployment rate remained at 3.4 per cent.

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the labour market has strengthened, reflecting the encouraging economic activities with the continuous increase in the number of employed persons. — Bernama