KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s labour market recovery continued as the unemployment rate was maintained at 3.6 per cent in Dec 2022, MIDF Research said.

In a research note today, it said the unemployment rate for youth aged 15-24 descended to a new pandemic low of 11.8 per cent but remained higher than the pre-pandemic level of 10.4 per cent in 2019.

It said labour force and employment continued expanding 2.4 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y) and 3.1 per cent y-o-y respectively supported by robust domestic economic growth and an upbeat external front.

“Unemployment dipped further by 12.8 per cent y-o-y, marking the 16 consecutive months of contraction rate.

“In addition, outside labour force reduced by 1.3 per cent y-o-y, registering the 14 straight months of negative growth rate,” it said.

MIDF Research said employment growth for 2022 hit a new record high at 3.5 per cent with solid support from additional job gains of employer by 9.5 per cent, employee (1.8 per cent), own account worker (9.7 per cent) and unpaid family workers (6.2 per cent).

It said the jobless rate averaged lower at 3.8 per cent but still higher than the pre-pandemic 2019’s average of 3.3 per cent.

“Even though robust economic growth pace recorded last year, we opine labour shortages, tightness in global supply chain and Covid-19 concerns are among downside factors for solid recovery of the job market,” it said.

It said manufacturing employment contribution to total employment declined to 14.5 per cent in 2022, the lowest ever recorded.

However, it said manufacturing employment rose slower than total employment growth at 3.2 per cent versus 3.5 per cent in 2022 respectively despite of booming external trade sector during the pandemic years.

On a positive note, the research house said the average monthly wage level stayed on an uptrend from RM2,765 in 2016 to RM3,420 in 2022.

It said by sub-sector, electrical and electronics (E&E) related industries remained the main employment pool particularly electronic integrated circuits, electrical resistor component and computers and peripherals equipment which accommodated 12.2 per cent of the manufacturing job market in 2022.

On the external front, it said the US job market improved in the first month of 2023 with the jobless rate descended to 3.4 per cent, the lowest since May 1969, despite the elevated inflationary pressure and tightening monetary policy.

“We foresee the jobless rate to decline steadily following the improving local economic activities and international borders reopening in China,” it added. - Bernama

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