KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 29): The service and manufacturing industries recorded sectoral retrenchment rates of 69% and 21% respectively in 2020, topping other industries amid restrictions of business operations, according to data by the Social Security Organisation (SOCSO).
Affected working hours and business revenues raised retrenchment levels in service and manufacturing from 57% (service) and 32% (manufacturing) in 2019. For the first half of 2021, they stood at 72% and 18% respectively.
“Like many other countries, the hardships affected the Malaysian economy and negatively impacted its labour market. This was especially so as over 100,000 retrenchments were recorded in 2020, and almost 35,000 in the first half of 2021.
“On the other hand, the unemployment rate of 5.3% in May 2020 was the highest since 1990, while 4.5% for the year 2020 was higher than the average full [year’s] unemployment rate of 3.4% recorded annually pre-Covid-19,” the Ministry of Finance (MoF) wrote in its Budget 2022 Economic Outlook report.
The ministry noted that within the service sector, retrenchments were mainly in the accommodation and food and beverage (F&B) sub-sectors owing to travel prohibitions, which affected transportation and all tourism-related activities.
“From over 34,700 [recorded] persons retrenched as of June 2021, the [job losses occurred] mainly among skilled (64.6%) and semi-skilled (27.6%) workers,” the MoF noted.
Meanwhile, retrenchment data for tourism-related activities saw wholesale retail trade record retrenchments of 21% of its workforce, the highest in 2020 against total service retrenchments, followed by accommodation and F&B (20%), transportation (10%) as well as arts, entertainment and recreation (below 10%).
A 2020 analysis by the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis revealed that stationary plant and machine operators, advertising and marketing professionals, financial and investment advisers, general office clerks, and managing directors and chief executives were among the top five jobs with the most vacancies during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“These top five jobs represented 33% of total job vacancies in the third quarter of 2020,” the MoF said.