Monday, May 21, 2012

March 2012 Employment

March employment numbers show little change as far as the unemployment ratio is concerned. 221k jobs were added in March, reducing the unemployment to 2.9% from February’s 3.2%:



Much of the increase in employment was filled by people entering the workforce, as the total labour force numbers only rose 199k.

Whatever wierdness affected the labour force numbers at the end of 2010 (which bumped up annual growth in 2011) has settled down, and we’ve now got more realistic estimates of labour force, and working population, growth (log annual changes):03_lf

Labour force growth averaged about 2.3% in 1Q2012, while population in the working age group increased by just 1.4% – poor numbers by any standard. Nevertheless, the important thing is to have labour force growth higher than overall population growth, as this will generally contribute to higher GDP/GNI per capita; something I think will be important going forward.

Technical Notes:

March 2012 Employment Report from the Department of Statistics (warning: pdf link)


  1. I am trying to understand your two graphs.

    1.Employment seems to yoyo whilst unemployment shows a clear down trend i.e 3%.
    2 Eligible for employment group is defined as 16-64 age bracket>>am i correct?This group nis growing at 1.4%?But participation is only 65% i.e about .9%
    3 Labor growth is 2.3%

    Somehow it does not correlate.

  2. 2011-2012 March >>only 310k jobs created and only 300 entrants to job market.Unemployment constant at about 380k.

    So how are we going to get the 4.5 mil new jobs in 11 years i.e 2009 11.7mil 2020 16.2 mil that Pemandu is projecting.

    Reckon it will be only be at best 15 mil workforce in 2020 at best.

    The 2010 Census supports this number as well.

  3. @anon 9.41

    Unemployment isn't really trending down - that's the short term chart. Malaysia's current unemployment rate is about at the long term average. I'd define the eligible workforce as 16-64, but I'm not sure how DOS defines it.

    The participation rate is low for a couple of reasons - students who have ipso facto opted out of the workforce, and the very low participation rate of women.


    The labour force numbers embedded in the ETP and NEM came out before the 2010 census. They haven't readjusted them yet.