Higher rate of joblessness in Malaysia this May

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia saw the number of unemployed rising in May 2013 despite the domestic economy remaining in a relatively healthy state.

Data from the Statistics Department showed that there were 439,4000 unemployed individuals in Malaysia in May 2013. This represented an increase of 35,800 persons (8.9%) from the preceding month, and 59,200 persons (15.6%) from May 2012.

The increase in the number of unemployed individuals led to a higher unemployment rate for the country at 3.3% in May, compared with 3% in April and 3% a year ago.

Malaysia’s economy, nevertheless, remained in full employment, which based on economic definition, is an unemployment rate of below 4%.

AmBank Group chief economist Anthony Dass told StarBiz: “The unemployment rate trend is seen to be exhibiting some levels of volatility. It is somewhat showing a similar pattern since January 2013, dropping to 3% and bouncing back to 3.3%. The volatile labour data indicates that it is trying to find a stable base.

“At this point in time, with the economic growth expected to be less exciting in the first six months of 2013 but improving modestly in the second half of the year, we expect the labour data to remain volatile in the near term before settling down,” Dass said.

AmBank’s view is that unemployment in 2013 should hover between 3.1% and 3.3% based on the assumption that the economy would grow between 5% and 5.3%.