In the second quarter (Q2) of 2023, Malaysia’s labor market displayed impressive resilience by expanding by 2.4%, totaling a record high of 16.73 million individuals. This growth occurred despite a slightly slower increase in employment and a smaller decrease in the number of unemployed persons. Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahidin highlighted that this expansion was mainly attributed to a 2.8% rise in the number of employed individuals, reaching 16.15 million.
The report revealed a notable 9.5% decline in the number of unemployed persons compared to the previous year, resulting in a national unemployment rate of 3.5% for the quarter. Mohd Uzir Mahidin emphasized that the improved demand for labor from various industries contributed to this decrease in unemployment, even though the growth rate of employment was slightly slower in Q2 2023 compared to a year ago. Nevertheless, the overall economy still managed to achieve a 2.9% increase in Q2 2023, demonstrating positive economic growth amid a challenging global environment. This growth rate was lower than the 5.6% recorded in the previous quarter.
An encouraging sign was the increase in labor participation, reaching a high rate of 70%, marking an 0.8 percentage point increase from the same quarter in the previous year.
Breaking down the labor market dynamics further, Mohd Uzir Mahidin shared that the private sector observed a 2.4% increase in job numbers, totaling 8.83 million jobs. Filled positions constituted 97.9% of these jobs, growing by 2.5% to 8.64 million, while job vacancies made up 2.1% of the jobs, declining by 0.9% to 189,600 vacancies. Notably, over half of these job vacancies were concentrated in the manufacturing sector, with the electrical, electronic, and optical products sub-sector having a significant share.
The report also highlighted an 8.6% growth in the number of jobs created during the quarter, reflecting the improved labor demand situation.
Looking ahead, Mohd Uzir Mahidin expressed optimism about the labor market’s continuous growth in the upcoming quarter. He attributed this anticipated growth to ongoing economic development, government initiatives, and quality investments that are expected to generate high-paying jobs. However, he cautioned that potential global and domestic challenges arising from unprecedented situations could impact this positive trajectory.