Trying times: The Statistics Department said the health crisis had a huge impact on the labour force which led to the unemployment rate moving above 4%. PETALING JAYA: The labour force survey conducted by the government showed that unemployment rate for 2020 had risen to a record level of 4.5% due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “The unemployment rate rose to 4.5% in 2020, the highest rate recorded since 1993 (4.1%), ” chief statistician Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahidin (pic below) said in a press statement yesterday.The Statistics Department said the health crisis had a huge impact on the labour force which led to the unemployment rate moving above 4% compared to an average of 3% pre-Covid-19 pandemic. Compared to the previous quarter, the fourth quarter 2020 showed that the number of unemployed increased 0.1 percentage point from 4.7%. In December 2020, unemployment rose to 772,900 persons at a rate of 4.8%. The labour market condition in December 2020 which was still influenced by the health crisis and economic consequences has caused slower recovery momentum in the labour market, the Statistics Department said. “In the fourth quarter of 2020, there were 533,7000 persons who worked less than 30 hours per week due to working conditions or insufficient work compared to the third quarter at 403,800 persons. Out of this total, 369,100 persons were categorised as time-related underemployment since they worked less than 30 hours a week and were able and willing to work extra hours from the third quarter at 300,800 persons, ” Uzir Mahidin said. He said that this category of people comprised of 2.4% of the overall employment in the fourth quarter of last year. “In the meantime, skill-related underemployment which comprises of those with tertiary education but working in semi-skilled and low-skilled occupations accounted for 1.89 million persons or 37.4% of the total of employed persons with tertiary education which is an increase from the third quarter of 1.76 million persons or 36.8%, ” he said. Uzir Mahidin said that throughout the whole of last year the labour force participation rate edged down by 0.3 percentage points to a record figure of 68.4% from 68.7% in 2019, based on the quarterly averages data. “During the same period, number of employed persons decreased by 0.2% to 15.1 million persons. The marginal decrease was due to the uncertainty in the labour market following the health and economic crisis during the year, ” he said. “Operations of certain activities remained restricted such as social gathering, cinemas and entertainment & recreational activities. Hence, it is foreseen that Malaysia’s labour market will remain in a challenging situation in early of 2021, ” he added. Uzir Mahidin also said that various assistance and initiatives introduced by the government would help cushion the impact of the pandemic on the labour market.
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