Penang’s Economic Performance


Penang’s GDP and GDP per capita have been growing by 5.7% and 6% respectively over the last five years. Since 2010, Penang outperformed Malaysia in economic growth. The manufacturing and service sectors have been the main contributors to Penang’s GDP over the past five years. In 2015 the service sector accounted for 49.1% of GDP, while 44.7% was from the manufacturing sector (Tables 1 and 2).


The total volume of external trade for Penang has increased by 4.18% (compound annual growth rate, CAGR) over five years reaching RM348mil in 2015. Both exports and imports in Malaysia and Penang have increased since 2010 (Tables 3-5).

Penang Employment Profile

Quarter-on-quarter comparison shows that the labour force participation rate in Q1 2016 decreased by 0.4% compared to Q1 2015 (Table 6). Although the unemployment rate of Penang increased to 2.3% in Q1 2016 from 1.5% in the previous quarter, it is still outperforming Malaysia’s unemployment rate of 3.4%, and is therefore stable (Figure 1). As at Q1 2016, about 264,000 or 32% of the employed workforce have attained tertiary education (Figure 2).

Household Income

As seen in Table 7, the average annual household income for Penang has increased at the rate of 6.34% per annum, from RM4,407 in 2009 to RM5,993 in 2014.

salary and Wages

The mean and median monthly salaries and wages of employees in Penang increased by 5.2% and 4.9% respectively over the past five years. The median monthly income for Penang was equal or more than that of Malaysia since 2010 (Table 8).

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