23.19million people are unemployed in Nigeria says report


Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose from 27.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 to 33.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020.

According to the ‘Labour force Statistics: Unemployment and underemployment report- Abridged labour force survey under COVID-19 (Q4, 2020) released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday, the figure is 6.1% higher when compared to the 27.1% recorded in the second quarter last year.

This translated to 23.19 million unemployed people.

Part of the report read, “During the reference period, the computed national unemployment rate rose from 27.1 per cent in Q2, 2020 to 33.3 per cent in Q4, 2020, while the underemployment rate decreased from 28.6 per cent to 22.8 per cent.

“A combination of both the unemployment and underemployment rate for the reference period gave a figure of 56.1 per cent.

“This means that 33.3 per cent of the labour force in Nigeria or 23,187,389 persons either did nothing or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed by our definition in Nigeria.

“This is an additional 1,422,772 persons from the number in that category in Q2, 2020.

“Using the international definition of unemployment, the rate was computed to be 17.5 per cent.”

The NBS report said that unemployment rate was highest for persons in the labour force between the ages of 15-24 with 53.4 per cent and 25-34 with 37.0 per cent, which represents the youth population in Nigeria.

It also noted that unemployment and underemployment was higher for women than men in the fourth quarter of 2020.

The report said, “Female unemployment was highest among the genders with 35.2 per cent while male was 31.8 per cent during the reference period.

“A similar case was recorded for underemployment, 24.2 per cent was reported for females, while males reported an under-employment rate of 21.8 per cent.”

A breakdown of the report shows that the total number of people with employment stood at 46.48 million while the underemployment rate was down by 20.6 percent at 15.91 million.

NBS added that in the case of unemployment by state, Imo State reported the highest rate of unemployment with 56.64%, followed by Adamawa and Cross River States with 54.89% and 53.65% respectively.

Benue recorded the highest number of underemployment at 43.52%, while Lagos State recorded the lowest underemployment rate, at 4.5% in the fourth quarter of 2020, the report said.

The States with the lowest rates were Osun, Benue, and the Zamfara States with 11.65%, 11.98% and 12.99% respectively.

Unlike in the economically active population, the age group that accounts for the highest number under the labour force is the 25-34 age group.

This, according to the report, is expected as most persons within the age group of 15-24 are involved in one form of schooling or the other, hence are not willing and/or available for work.

“The results of the survey indicate that the estimated number of persons in the economically active or working-age population (15 – 64 years of age) during the reference period of the survey, Q4, 2020 was 122,049,400.

“This is 4.3% higher than the figure recorded in Q2, 2020, which was 116,871,186. Of this number, females represent 50.49%, while males account for 49.5%,” NBS added.

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Unlike in the economically active population, the age group that accounts for the highest number under the labour force is the 25-34 age group. While females are more dominant under the active population, the reverse holds for the labour force, where males are more dominant with 56.72%, with females accounting for 43.28%.

The report also revealed that the unemployment rate among rural dwellers was 34.5%, up from 28.2% in Q2, 2020, while urban dwellers reported a rate of 31.3% up from 26.4%.

In the case of underemployment among rural dwellers, it declined to 26.9% from 31.5%, while the rate among urban dwellers decreased to 16.2% from 23.2% in Q2, 2020.