Unemployment Rate in Nigeria is 7.5 Percent – NBS

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The National Bureau of Statistics says that unemployment statistics as at the first quarter of 2015 is 7.5 Percent

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Jun 22, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT  |

UNEMPLOYMENT is going down in the country if the current figure being bandied by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, is anything to go by. From the double digit unemployment figure of 24 percent last year, the NBS now says Nigeria’s unemployment statistics stood at 7.5 percent for the first quarter of 2015. The NBS, in a report released on Sunday, June 7, stated that the unemployment rate had increased from 6.4 percent at the end of the fourth quarter of 2014 to 7.5 percent for the first quarter of this year.

In the report, the NBS stated that the increase in the number of the unemployed by 861,110 persons or 18.43 percent between the fourth quarter of 2014 and the first quarter of this year was responsible for the increase in the unemployment rate. It stated that in the first three months of this year, the labour force population increased to 73.4 million from 72.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, representing 0.69 percent increase.

This, it noted, implied that 504,596 economically active persons within the age bracket of 15 to 64 entered the labour force. The report stated, “Within the same period, the total number in full employment (did something for at least 40 hours) increased by 0.88 percent. The number of underemployed in the labour force during the review quarter, however, declined by 6.46 percent, resulting in a reduction in the underemployment rate to 16.6 percent (12.2 million) from 17.9 percent (13.1 million) in Q4 2014.

“The number of unemployed in the labour force, on the other hand, increased by 861,110 persons or 18.43 percent between Q4 2014 and Q1 2015 resulting in an increase in the unemployment rate to 7.5 percent in Q1 2015 from 6.4 percent in Q4 2014. Accordingly, there were a total of 17.7 million people between ages 15 and 65 either unemployed or underemployed in the labour force in Q1 2015.”

The report added that the fact that the number of people that became unemployed (861,110) in the first quarter of 2015 exceeded the number that entered the labour force within the same period (504,596) was an indication that some persons previously working in full employment lost their jobs, while others previously underemployed and doing temporary, or part-time work ended whatever they were doing and accordingly now did not have anything to do for at least 20 hours a week during the reference period.

The NBS had last month revised the country’s labour statistics, stating that as a result, the number of those unemployed had dropped from 16.07 million or 23.9 percent in 2011 to 4.67 million or 6.4 percent at the end of the fourth quarter of 2014. The bureau had, following the recommendation of a committee chaired by Sarah Anyanwu of the University of Abuja, adopted 20 hours per week for the computation of the unemployment rate as opposed to the 40 hours per week previously used.

Yemi Kale, statistician-general of the federation, had during the review said the old methodology presented a major challenge to the bureau as those who worked for less than 40 hours were classified as unemployed.

He said out of 22,620,202 unemployed Nigerians, 4,672,067 million were unemployed in the fourth quarter of 2014, 7,027941 million were unemployed in the third quarter and 5,307,375 million in the second quarter, while 5,612, 819 million were unemployed in the first quarter of the year under review. Kale said the figure increased by 21 percent from 2013.

Meanwhile, the NBS on Monday, June 8, released a summary of the nation’s labour productivity report for the first quarter of this year, noting that in the first three months, the country experienced a 2.4 percent decline in productivity from N639.34 recorded in December last year to N624.22 per hour.

Labour productivity refers to the quantity of labour input required to produce a unit of output. It is derived as the ratio of total output (annual Gross Domestic Product current prices) to labour input (total hours worked per year). The NBS, in the report explained that since 2010, the labour productivity had risen only marginally. For instance, the report stated that the country’s labour output per hour as of 2010 was N419.7. The figure rose to N471.94, N551.70 and N594.34 in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

It stated, “Labour productivity dropped slightly to N624.22 (2.4 per cent) in Q1 2015 over the 2014 average. This drop in labour productivity in Q1 2015 comes at a time unemployment rose within the same period, while the Gross Domestic Product dropped. Given seasonality and its effects in Nigeria on output and labour hours, however, we are cautious not to draw cause‐effect relationships and make other inferences from this slight drop in labour force productivity in Q1 2015 until full year 2015. The sharp drop in labour productivity in dollar terms reflects the weakening of the US dollar to the naira during the review period.”

The NBS also stated that Nigeria had relatively low labour productivity despite several years of stable and high economic growth. “Further growth in labour productivity, however, appears to continuously be constrained by the high level of unemployment and underemployment, and its expansion as well as the low skill and income requirements associated with it. Lastly, compared to other emerging economies, Nigeria’s labour productivity levels are considerably lower,” it stated.

In order to improve the rate of labour productivity, the report noted that there was a need to improve the unemployment situation in the country by increasing the opportunities for more businesses to start, grow and employ labour. In addition, the NBS report stated that it was necessary to improve the quality of education and training of workers for higher productivity.

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