Malaysia’s September unemployment rate to be released

Malaysia’s Department of Statistics will today release September’s unemployment rate. Malaysia’s joblessness percentage has improved since May’s high of 5.3%,

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Photo: Reuters/ Lim Huey Teng

Malaysia’s Department of Statistics will today release September’s unemployment rate.

Malaysia’s joblessness percentage has improved since May’s high of 5.3%, steadying at 4.7% in July and August. Today’s announcement is expected to continue this trend, with some forecasts projecting a slight decrease to 4.5%, revealing increased economic activity despite continued COVID-19 restrictions.

Since Malaysia required non-essential businesses to close in the spring, Malaysia’s gig economy—a system where businesses hire workers, often digitally, for temporary positions—has expanded. A quarter of the workforce was occupied in gig positions before the pandemic, a figure which has only increased as businesses moved online. Now, the increased demand to fulfil temporary service needs has pushed the labour force participation rate from May’s low of 68% to 68.4% in August.

Doubt exists over whether the gig economy can serve as an alternative to traditional employment. In many cases, workers are not afforded traditional employee rights. Additionally, with much of the gig economy’s operations centred in cities, rural Malaysians are likely to be left out of its benefits. While the gig model may not be sustainable long-term, expect it to continue flourishing as it has provided much-needed income for struggling Malaysians.