Wednesday, May 28, 2014

March 2014 Employment

If there’s anything that will tell you the economy isn’t quite as good as the 1Q2014 numbers indicate, it should be employment (‘000):


Not to put too fine a point to it, job creation in 1Q2014 sucked – in fact, it’s been pretty poor since the middle of last year.

The economy has lost about half a million jobs over the same period (‘000):


The reduction in labour demand however hasn’t turned up as unemployment however (ratio to labour force):


Unemployment fell back to just 3.0%, largely due to a simultaneous and slightly larger reduction in the work force. The increase and subsequent decrease in the LFPR over the past year has been unusual – but it appears to be back to “normal” again (ratio to population of working age) :


One the one hand, I’m concerned about the relative lack of job creation over the past year; on the other, I don’t think it’s reasonably out of whack, given the strong growth in jobs before that. On the whole, I think the latter is probably the more important factor, but we’ll see how it goes over the next few months.

Technical Notes:

March 2014 Employment report from the Department of Statistics (warning: pdf link)


  1. Hi Hisham can you share some enlightment basis on each category i.e manufacturing, services, financial...

    1. @anon

      Unfortunately, DOS does not provide a breakdown by sector for the monthly series. I believe that info might be available in the annual survey, but this isn't timely enouh

  2. Can Elaborate? i.e Permanent versus Temporary jobs. Can it be just the effect of lesser work going to pendatangs?

    1. @anon

      The monthly series does not provide much in the way of detail. Having said that, I doubt it - there wouldn't be so much movement in the participation rate otherwise.

  3. Hisham,
    Our penang blogger (accounting trained), Anil Netto has come up with this interesting piece. Perhaps, you can give your views on this.