Economic outlook

December 20, 2018

Unemployed Nigerians increase by 3.3m to 20.9m — NBS

Unemployed Nigerians increase by 3.3m to 20.9m — NBS


By Nkiruka Nnorom & Elizabeth Adegbesan

The number of unemployed Nigerians rose by 3.3 million to 20.9 million in the third quarter of 2018 (Q3’18), a report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has shown.


The NBS in its Labour Force Statistics –volume 1: Unemployment and underemployment report for Q3’18, indicated that year-on-year (YoY) the rate of unemployment rose by 3.3 million or 19 percent to  20.9 million in Q3’18 from 17.6 million in Q3’17, while on quarterly basis, it rose by three percent from 20.3 million in Q2’18.

The report showed that unemployed and under-employed female population far outpaced that of the men folk.

Expectedly, the rate of job losses in the rural areas also far outpaced that of the urban centers with the rate of unemployment in the rural center increasing by 7.5 percent, while there was a 2.2 percent decrease in unemployment in the urban center respectively.

No money for unemployment report – Statistician-General

Unemployment level

The report stated: “The unemployment rate accordingly, increased from 18.8 percent in Q3’17 to 23.1 percent in Q3’18. The total number of people classified as unemployed, which means they did nothing at all or worked too few hours (under 20 hours a week) to be classified as employed increased from 17.6 million in Q4 2017 to 20.9 million in Q3 2018.

“Of the 20.9 million persons classified as unemployed as at Q3’18, 11.1 million did some form of work but for too few hours a week (under 20 hours) to be officially classified as employed, while 9.7 million did absolutely nothing.

“Of the 9.7 million unemployed that did absolutely nothing as at Q3 2018, 90.1 percent of them or 8.77 million were reported to be unemployed and doing nothing because they were first time job seekers and have never worked before.

GDP growth to sustain upward trajectory into Q4’18, Q1’19

“On the other hand, 0.9 percent of the 9.7 million that were unemployed and doing nothing at all reported they were unemployed and did nothing at all because they were previously employed but lost their jobs at some point in the past which is why they were unemployed.

“Total combined unemployment and underemployment rates increased from 40.0 percent in Q3 2017 to 43.3 percent in Q3, 2018”.

According to the bureau, “Unemployment rate in Nigeria has been on the increase since the economic crisis in 2014. The unemployment rate based on NBS’s revised methodology were calculated to be 23.1 percent in the third quarter of 2018. Underemployment, however, has been gradually declining over the past four quarters, with then rate in Q3 was reported as 20.1 percent.

It stated: “The increasing unemployment and declining underemployment rates imply that the fragile economic recovery is beginning to create employment. However, hours worked within these jobs are not yet enough for full time employment (40+ hours within the week). While this is on-going, the inflow of entrants into the labour market continues to grow steadily, minimizing the effect of any jobs created within the economy on the overall unemployment rate”.

Breaking: Nigeria’s GDP grows by 1.81% in Q3 2018 – NBS


Unemployed women versus men

The report further showed that 26.6 percent of women within the labour force (aged 16-64 and willing, able, and actively seeking work) were unemployed, 6.3 percent higher than the unemployment rate for men (20.3%), and 3.5 percent higher than the total labour force unemployment rate, which is 23.1 percent.

The report said: “For women, this also represents a 5.4 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate from the same period of last year. Additionally, 25.9 percent of women in the labour force were underemployed, a 4.1 percentage point increase in underemployment for women from the previous year.

“In the same period, 20.3 percent of men in the labour force (aged 16-64 and willing, able, and actively seeking work) were unemployed. This figure is 3.8 percentage points higher than the same period last year, and 2.8 percentage points lower than the total labour force unemployment rate. Additionally, 15.4 percent of men in the labour force were underemployed, a 5.1 percentage point decline in underemployment rate for men over the same period last year.”

Unemployment by dwelling (urban vs rural)

Also, the unemployment rate between urban and rural regions within the quarter under review maintained a similar pattern to that of the general labour force unemployment rate. It showed that in Q3’2018, 23.9 percent of rural and 21.2 percent of urban dwellers within the labour force were unemployed. This represented a 7.5 percentage point increase in unemployment rate for rural dwellers over the same period in 2017, and a 2.2 percentage point decrease in unemployment rate for urban dwellers over the last year.

Thus, unemployment increased in the rural areas, while it decreased among urban dwellers during the review period, the bureau said.

Rate of employment

However, rate of employment, the report noted, increased by four percent to 115.5 million in Q3’18 from 111.1 million in Q3’17.

The report stated: “The economically active or working age population (15 – 64 years of age) increased from 111.1 million in Q3’17 to 115.5million in Q3’18.

“ The number of persons in the labour force (i.e. people who are able and willing to work increased from 75.94 million in Q3’15 to 80.66 million in Q3’16 to 85.1 million in Q3’17 to 90.5million in Q3’18.

“The total number of people in employment (i.e with jobs) increased from 68.4 million in Q3’15, to 68.72 million in Q3’16, to 69.09 million in Q3’17 and 69.54 million in Q3’18″.