About 44,000 Malaysians were retrenched last year and the outlook will worsen this year, said the Malaysian Employers Federation.
Its executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said 31,476 people have already been laid-off up to September this year.
The next few weeks would also be the most crucial as employers usually laid off workers around year-end to avoid bonus payments and increments, he added.
“What happened in the US and Europe will have a lot of bearing on the sustainability of our employees.
“If the US President-elect (Donald Trump) takes a protective stand, this will be more difficult for the export market. The same things may happen in parts of Europe such as the UK.”
Shamsuddin added that on the home front, the market is discouraging with the increase in prices of products despite consumers trying to save.
“This is not helping growth,” he said during a press conference after the launch of the federation’s survey on salaries.