Infographics by DOSM on Labour Force Survey up to May this year.

KUCHING: In a recent survey conducted by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), the country faces an increase of 5.3 percent in the unemployment rate nationwide.

As of May, a total of 826,100 people are currently unemployed as stated in the report on statistics of labour force in Malaysia

Chief Statistician of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin, said the unemployment rate escalated from 0.3 to 5.3 percent from month-on-month with the number of unemployed persons up from 47,300 to 826,100 persons.

“However, the monthly change of unemployed persons in May this year was very much lower than the change registered from March to April that was 168,300.

“The reduction could partly be due to the implementation of numerous stimulus packages reaching its intended target in addition to more businesses being allowed to operate following the conditional movement control order (CMCO) during the month,” he said in a statement yesterday.

In the meantime, the report also showed the number of employed persons temporarily not working being reduced more than half to 2.27 million persons, as to April this year that recorded 4.87 million persons.

This group of people, who were most likely not able to work from home, were not categorised as unemployed as they had work to return to.

“In line with this, employment-to-population ratio which provides information on the ability of an economy to create employment dropped further by 0.4 to post 64.4 per cent,” he continued.

Furthermore, during the month, among the affected employed persons were in the services sector; mainly industries related to tourism, accommodation, event planning, arts and entertainment, sports and recreational activities, as well as other services.

As the health authority increased detection of Covid-19 clusters among foreign workers, noticeable decline was also observed for employed persons in the construction sector.

“In May, this group accounted for 2.42 million persons, dropped 161,500 persons as against April, and most are daily wage earners working in farmer’s markets, night markets and stalls; freelancers; as well as smallholders.

“As the CMCO still restricted their business operations to run as usual, this group of workers were and may continue to be at high risk of job and income losses,” he explained.

Mohd Uzir also pointed out how the number of labour force rose marginally by 1,800 persons. In a year-on-year comparison, labour force recorded an increase of 71,700 persons (0.5 percent).

The labour force participation rate (LFPR) in May stood at 68.1 percent — as registering a decline of 0.1 percentage point month-on-month as outflows into outside labour force continued to increase.

As for the outside labour force in May, it has increased 0.6 percent, recording inflows of 47,000 persons as against April (+105,300).

As such, it has brought the total number to 7.39 million persons, with the largest share of 43.4 percent outside labour force due to housework/ family responsibilities.

This was followed by a share of 39.1 percent who were schooling.

Concluding the overall labour force situation, Mohd Uzir pointed out that the economic indicators for May had shown improvement as compared to April, and these signalled that the economy was gradually improving.

“Following this, despite the continuous negative trend in the labour supply up to May, this situation has improved considerably as compared to April.

“The implementation may allow businesses to regain their momentum, while new business opportunities emerge as demand changed amidst the new norm and this in turn is expected to retain employment, create new jobs and spur hiring,” he stated.

Mohd Uzir stressed that labour force a situation in June was expected to improve slightly.

“Through various initiatives by the government, in addition to new creative businesses models innovated, the labour market may find its way to a recovery path,” he stated.

Mohd Uzir who is the Census Commissioner for 2020 added  that the Malaysia Population and Housing Census this year was being implemented in two phases with the theme – ‘Data Anda Masa Depan Kita’ (Your Data is Our Future).

The first phase is carried out online (e-census) between July 7 and Sept 30, while the second phase between Oct 7 and 24, through face-to-face interviews.

The public are invited to fill in the e-Census, and further information on Census 2020 can be obtained through the census portal at