THE National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has disclosed that a total of 52 million citizens within the economically-active population of Nigeria between 15 and 64 years were jobless by the end of March 2016.
This figure consists of 27.5 million people who are “not willing or able, or not actively looking to work” and 24.50 million people between the ages of 15 and 64 that were willing and able to work and actively seeking work but were either unemployed or underemployed.
NBS put the number of economically-active population or working age population (persons within ages 15 and 64) at 106.0 million by the end of quarter one of 2016 as against 105.02 million in the last quarter of 2015.
The agency recently re-categorised an unemployed person as one who “did absolutely nothing at all or did something but not for up to 20 hours in a week,” whereas “underemployment occurs if you work less than full time which is 40 hours but work at least 20 hours on average a week and or if you work full time but are engaged in an activity that underutilises your skills, time and educational qualifications.”
In the report posted on its website on Friday, NBS stated that “with an economically-active or working age population of 106.0 million and labour force population of 78.4 million in Q1 2016, this means 27.5 million persons within the economically-active or working age population decided not to work for various reasons in Q1 2016 compared to 28.06 million in Q4 2015.
“The number of underemployed in the labour force (those working but doing largely menial work or jobs not commensurate with their qualifications or not fully engaged and merely working for few hours-less than 20 hours) during the quarter in review however, increased by 607,613 persons resulting in an increase in the underemployment rate to 19.1 per cent in Q1 2016 (15.02 million persons) from 18.7 per cent (14.41 million) in Q4 2015.
“Within the same period, the number of unemployed in the labour force, increased by 1,449,18 persons (increase of 518,000 between Q3 and Q4 2015) between Q4 2015 and Q1 2016, resulting in an increase in the unemployment rate to 12.1% in Q1 2016 from 10.4 per cent in Q4 2015, 9.9 per cent in Q3 2015 and 8.2 per cent in Q2 2015.”
Giving a breakdown of the figure, the agency explained that between January and March 2016, labour force population (i.e. those within the working age population willing, able and actively looking for work) increased to 78.4 million from 76.9 million in Q4 2015, representing in an increase in the labour force by 1.99 per cent.
“This means an additional 1,528,647 economically-active persons within 15 and 64 entered the labour force; that is, were able and willing and actively looking for work between January 1 and March 31, 2016.
This consisted of newly qualified graduates, new entrants into the economically active population (became 15 in Q1 2016) actively seeking work and previous members of the economically active population that choose not to work for whatever reasons in earlier periods.”
On the other hand, the number of those in full time employment between Q4 2015 and Q1 2016, within ages 25 and34 increased by 0.22million.
Nigeria was therefore unable to create the 1.5million jobs required between Q4 2015 and Q1 2016 to keep the unemployment rate constant at 10.4 per cent in Q4 2015.
The agency said if its previous methodology was used, unemployment rate would have been 31.2 percent on March 31, 2016, from 29.2 percent in December 31, 2015, 27.3 percent in September 2015, 26.5 percent in June, 2015, 24.2 percent in March 2015, 23.9 percent in 2011 and 21.4 percent in 2010.