By Emeka Anaeto, Economy Editor

LAGOS — There are indications that the country’s labour market has taken a major hit with worsening unemployment recorded in the second quarter (Q2) of 2015. About 1, 317,700 Nigerians lost their jobs within the period.

On the other hand, the number of underemployed increased significantly with new hire of about 1,362,274 citizens in this category of employment during the period.

Within the same period, the number of unemployed in the labour force increased to 6,063,500, a significant 9.6 per cent from 5,533,600 recorded in first quarter (Q1), resulting in an increase in unemployment rate to 8.2 per cent in Q2, 2015 from 7.5 per cent in Q1.  This represents a third consecutive rise in the unemployment rate since third quarter 2014.

Accordingly, there were a total of 19.6 million people between ages 15 and 65 either unemployed or underemployed in the labour force in Q2, 2015, compared to 17.7 million in Q1 2015.

Amidst this development, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), in its latest labour market report, said economically active population or working age population (persons within ages 15-64) increased to 103.5 million in Q2, 2015 from 102.8 million in Q1.

Also, the report shows that in Q2, 2015, the labour force population (those within the working age population willing, able and actively looking for work) increased to 74 million from 73.4 million in Q1 2015, representing an increase of 0.81per cent. This means 574,498 economically active persons within ages 15 and 64 entered the labour force within the period.

According to NBS, the drop in the number of full employment (those working less than 40 hours per week) despite a rise in the labour force can be attributed more to job losses or previously fully employed persons choosing or being forced to work part time or in underemployment.

The NBS report also indicated that unemployment and underemployment was higher for women than men in Q2 2015.

While 9.6 per cent of women in the labour force (those between 15 65 willing, able and actively working or searching for work) were unemployed in Q2 2015, another 21.6 per cent of them in the labour force were underemployed during the period under review. On the other hand, 6.9 per cent of males were unemployed in Q2 2015, while another 15.4 per cent of males in the labour force were underemployed.

Employment, underemployment and unemployment, according to NBS, are treated as a function of a person’s involvement or otherwise in economic activity even if that activity is aimed at making ends meet. The suitability of wages is covered under other quality of living standards indicators such as poverty etc and not in determining whether one is employed, unemployed or underemployed which is a function of economic engagement..

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