Unemployment rate rises to 27.1% in Nigeria - NBS

National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) yesterday, released the result of the controversial 2019 Nigerian Living Standards Survey (NLSS), declaring that the unemployment rate has risen to an all-time 27.1 per cent in the Q2 of 2020 from the 23.1 per cent recorded in the Q3 of 2018.

According to a document published in its website, in Abuja, the bureau said that the underemployment rate increased from 20.1 per cent in Q3, 2018 to 28.6 per cent.  It also noted that for the period under review, Q2, 2020, the unemployment rate among young people (15 – 34 years) was 34.9 per cent, up from 29.7 per cent, while the rate of underemployment for the same age group rose to 28.2 per cent from 25.7 per cent in Q3, 2018.

These rates, the bureau explained, were the highest when compared to other age groupings. It, however, noted that increase in unemployment can occur as a result of several reasons, of which loss of an existing job can occur because of a combination of two factors, such as a rise in unemployment generally, which means the number of people searching for jobs has increased in labour force size. This, it said can lead to rise in unemployment rate.

Another reason is that the people previously outside the labour 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.


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

“This is 1.2 per cent higher than the figure recorded in Q3, 2018, which was 115,492,969. 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 per cent less than the number of persons in Q3, 2018. Of this number, those within the age bracket of 25-34 were highest, with 23,328,460 or 29.1 per cent of the labour force.

“The total number of people in employment (i.e. people with jobs) during the reference period was 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 per cent less than the people in employment in Q3, 2020” the bureau, noted.

At the build-up of the 2019 Nigerian Living Standards Survey (NLSS), in May, this year, NBS said that out of the estimated 200 million Nigerians, 40.1 per cent (82.9 million) of them are  poor, which means that four out of 10 Nigerians have real per capita expenditures below N137,430 per year.

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