Malaysia has recorded a lower number of unemployed in March at 588,700 persons, registering an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent, official data showed Thursday. The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) said in a statement that an optimistic economic position in March has allowed the country’s labor market to continue to develop steadily. “An improving labor force situation during the month was mirrored by the rising number of employed persons, while the number of unemployed further decreased,” it said. According to DOSM, the number of the labor force in March strengthened further by 0.2 percent to record 16.81 million persons, as compared to 16.78 million persons in February. March’s labor force participation rate (LFPR) stood at 69.9 percent. The number of employed persons in March was also on an upward trend, with a month-on-month rise of 0.2 percent to 16.22 million persons. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed persons in March continued to decrease month on month, falling by 0.5 percent to register 588,700 persons. As for the first quarter, DOSM said the encouraging economic and social activity contributed to a stable labor supply situation. According to DOSM, the number of the labor force for the period rose by 0.6 percent to 16.65 million persons as compared to 16.54 million in the fourth quarter of 2022. Consequently, the LFPR went up by 0.3 percentage points quarter on quarter to 69.8 percent. In the meantime, the total number of employed persons edged up by 0.8 percent quarter on quarter to 16.06 million persons during the quarter.