Nigeria’s Unemployment Rate Rises To 27.1% – NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose from 23.1% in the third quarter of 2018 to 27.1% in the second quarter of 2020.

In its ‘Labor Force Statistics: Unemployment and Underemployment Report’ released on Friday, the bureau also disclosed that the underemployment rate was up from 20.1% in the third quarter of 2018 to 28.6% in the second quarter of 2020.

According to NBS, the number of persons in the economically active or working age population (15 – 64 years of age) during the reference period of the survey, Q2, 2020 was 116,871,186.

“This is 1.2% higher than the figure recorded in Q3, 2018, which was 115,492,969,” it said.

“The number of persons in the labour force (i.e. people within ages 15 -64, who are able and willing to work) was estimated to be 80,291,894. This was 11.3% less than the number persons in Q3, 2018. Of this number, those within the age bracket of 25-34 were highest, with 23,328,460 or 29.1% of the labour force.

“The total number of people in employment (i.e. people with jobs) during the reference period was dwellers, it rose to 31.5% from 22.8%, while the rate among urban dwellers rose to 23.2% from 58,527,276.

“Of this number, 35,585,274 were full-time employed (i.e. worked 40+ hours per week), while 22,942,003 were under-employed (i.e. working between 20-29 hours per week). This figure is 15.8% less than the people in employment in Q3, 2020.”

The bureau further noted that, for the period under review, Q2, 2020, the unemployment rate among young people (15-34years) was 34.9% up from 29.7%, while the rate of underemployment for the same age group rose to 28.2% from 25.7% in Q3, 2018.

“These rates were the highest when compared to other age groupings,” it added.


Under State disaggregation, Imo State reported the highest rate of unemployment with 48.7%, followed by Akwa-Ibom State and Rivers State with 45.2% and 43.7% respectively, according to NBS.

The State with the lowest rate was Anambra in the South-East with 13.1%. For underemployment, the state which recorded the highest rate was Zamfara with 43.7%, while Anambra State recorded the lowest underemployment rate, with 17% in Q2, 2020.

“A total number of 2,736,076 did not do any work in the last 7 days preceding the survey due to the lockdown but had secure jobs to return to after the lockdown,” the bureau stated.

NBS, however, noted that a rise in the unemployment rate is not entirely equivalent to an increase in job losses.

“Rather, an increase in unemployment can occur as a result of several reasons, of which loss of an existing job is just one,” it said.

“A rise in unemployment generally means the number of people searching for jobs has increased, which can occur because: people previously outside the labor force (e.g students, housewives etc) have decided to join the labour force and are now in search of jobs; or people previously working have lost their jobs and are now in search of jobs. Often, it is a combination of these two.”

This is the first labour force statistics report released in Nigeria since 2018.

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