Unemployment Rate Hits 14.2% as 29m Nigerians Jobless

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday has revealed that not less than 29 million Nigerians were jobless in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2016.

“There were a total of 28.58 million persons in the Nigerian labour force in Q4 2016, that were either unemployed or underemployed compared to compared to 27.12 million in Q3, 26.06 million in Q2 and 24.5 million in Q1 2016,” the report titled ‘Q4 2016 unemployment report’ stated.

According to the NBS, during the reference period, the number of unemployed in the labour force, increased by 351,015 persons, resulting in an increase in the national unemployment rate to 14.2 percent in Q4 2016, slightly up from 13.9 percent in Q3, 13.3 percent in Q2, 12.1 percent in Q1 2016, and 10.4 percent in Q4 2015.

The country’s stats agency said further that the economically active population or working age population (persons within ages 15 and 64) increased from 108.03 million to 108.59 million, this represents a 0.5 percent increase over the previous quarter and a 3.4 percent increase when compared to Q4 2015.

In Q4 2016, the labour force population (i.e. those within the working age population willing, able and actively looking for work) increased to 81.15 million from 80.67 million in Q3 2016, representing an increase of 0.6 percent in the labour force during the quarter. This means about 482,689 persons from the economically active population entered the labour force during the quarter, that is individuals that were able, willing and actively looking for work.

The magnitude of this increase between Q3 and Q4 2016 is smaller when compared to Q2 and Q3 2016, which recorded an increase of 782,886 in the Labour force population.

Within the reference period, the total number of persons in full time employment (did any form of work for at least 40 hours) decreased by 977,876 or 1.8 percent when compared to the previous quarter, and decreased by 1.92 million or 3.5 percent when compared to Q4 of 2015, making a total of 52.58 million persons in full time employment.

With an economically active or working age population of 108.59 million and labour force population of 81.15 million, it means 27.44 million persons within the economically active or working age population decided not to work for one reason or the other in Q4 2016, hence were not part of the labour force and cannot be considered unemployed.

The number of underemployed in the labour force (those working but doing menial jobs not commensurate with their qualifications or those not engaged in full time work and merely working for few hours) increased by 1,109,551 or 7.0 percent, resulting in an increase in the underemployment rate from 19.7 percent (15.9 million persons) in Q3 2016 to 21.0 percent (17.03 million persons) in Q4 2016.

This is an increase of 1.3 percentage points between quarters 3 and 4 of 2016, and shows a steady rise in the rate since Q3 of 2015.

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