By Yinka Kolawole

The rate of unemployment in Nigeria rose to 14.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2016, from 13.9 percent in Q3, with the number of unemployed in the labour force increasing by 351,015 persons.

This was revealed in the Unemployment/Under-employment Report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), yesterday. The report noted that the national unemployment rate was slightly up from 13.9% in Q3, 13.3% in Q2, 12.1% in Q1 2016, and 10.4% in Q4 2015.

“Accordingly, 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 stated.

The report further stated: “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.

NBS also noted that there was a reduction of 977,876 in the number of persons in full time employment within the same period, representing a decrease of 1.8 percent compared to the previous quarter.

The report stated: “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 report further stated that the rate of under-employment rose by 7 percent within the same period.

It said: “The  number of underemployed  in the labour force (those working but doing menial jobs not commensurate with their qualifications or those not engaged in fulltime work and 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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