THE National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, in its unemployment report for the fourth quarter (Q4) 2016 has given a breakdown of how 3.67 million Nigerians became jobless in one year.
Also, the number of unemployed Nigerians rose from 7.51 million at the beginning of October 2015 to 11.19 million at the end of September 2016.
High unemployment indicates less productivity and less contribution to the economy because jobless people are spending less. Consequently, the government ends up borrowing money because of low revenues and high spending. Rise in employment rates also affects other areas, such as quality of health services and living standards.
The unemployment report for the Q4 – October to December 2016, although billed to be formally released on March 29th is contained in the Nigerian Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017 – 2020) just released by the Federal Government on Tuesday.
The report added that while the number of those employed rose from 55.21 million in the beginning of Q4 to 69.47 million by September ending, the labour force population rose from 75.94 million to 80.66 million.
A breakdown of the 3.67 million unemployed Nigerians showed that about 522,000 people became jobless during Q4 2015; while 1.44 million more people joined the labour force in Q1 2016.
Further analysis of the NBS unemployment report for Q2, Q3 2016, showed that about 1.16 million and 550,000 people respectively entered the labour market in search of jobs.
The NBS report also showed that the rate of unemployment was highest for persons between the ages of 15-24 and 25-34, which represent the “youth” population in Nigeria.
Unemployment rate was highest for those within the age group of 15 to 24 rising from 17.8 per cent in the beginning of Q4 2015 to 25 per cent as of the end of September 2016. It also increased for the 25-34 age group, from 10.8 per cent to 15 per cent during the period.
This means that despite Nigeria- much-touted youthful population, the nation- economy is significantly still being dominated by the older generation.
The demography also indicated that while 15.9 per cent of women in the labour force were unemployed as of the end of the Q3 2016, a further 22.9 per cent were underemployed during the period.
The report said 12 per cent of males were unemployed in the Q3 2016, while 16.7 per cent of them were underemployed during the same period.-Given that the nature of rural jobs is largely menial and unskilled, such as in agriculture, unemployment is more of a concern in urban areas where more skilled labour is required.
-The unemployment rate in the urban areas was 18.3 per cent compared to 11.8 per cent in the rural areas, as the preference is more for formal white-collar jobs, which are located mostly in urban centres,” the report said.