Malaysia’s unemployment rate highest in 12 years hinh anh 1Taking samples for testing SARS-CoV-2 in Malaysia (Photo; Xinhua/VNA)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) - Malaysia's unemployment rate is now the highest since the 2008-2009 world financial crisis, at 3.9 percent, as people saw their livelihoods affected by COVID-19 and the movement control order (MCO), said the country’s Department of Statistics.

In a recent report, the department said the number of unemployed persons in the country increased by 17.1 percent to 610,500 in March, as compared to 521,000 in the same month in 2019.

Bank Negara Malaysia also attributed the high unemployment rate in March to the pandemic and negative impacts of MCO on the job market.

Meanwhile, Affin Hwang Investment Bank Bhd predicted that the unemployment rate in Malaysia continues to rise in the second quarter, especially in April and May.

Affin Hwang believed that the rate is likely to stand between 5-6 percent in 2020, much higher than the level of 3.3 percent last year./.