The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, Wednesday released a report showing the number of unemployed Nigerians rose by 3.3 million to 20.9 million in the third quarter of 2018 (Q3’18). It indicated that 3.3m joined labour market in one year even as l69.54m people have jobs.
The bureau, 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 per cent to 20.9 million in Q3’18 from 17.6 million in Q3’17, while on quarterly basis, it rose by three per cent from 20.3 million in Q2’18.
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 2015 to 80.66 million in Q3 2016 to 85.1 million in Q3,2017 to 90.5 million in Q3, 2018.
The total number of people in employment (i.e. with jobs) increased from 68.4 million in Q3 2015 to 68.72 million in Q3 2016, to 69.09 million in Q3 2017 and 69.54 million in Q3 2018. The total number of people in full-time employment (at least 40 hours a week) increased from 51.1 million in Q3 2017 to 51.3 million in Q3, 2018.
This was as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, described the NBS’ job report as not just terrible, but catastrophic, stressing that a whopping 20.93 million Nigerians have lost their jobs under the All Progressives Congress-led administration.
The former vice president, in a statement issued by his media adviser, Paul Ibe, said, “To put this in perspective, the unemployed population in Nigeria is now twice the population of Benin Republic!
“Nigeria cannot continue like this, especially with an administration that continues to blame others for things that they should find solutions for with the latest ridiculous episode being President Buhari’s blaming of former President Jonathan for his own inability to appoint ministers for six months, an action that is directly responsible for the sorry state of unemployment in Nigeria,” Atiku said.
He urged Nigerians to note that “a President who can’t create jobs or wealth in his own private business cannot create jobs or wealth for the public because you cannot give what you do not have.”
“Right now, Nigeria is the world headquarters of extreme poverty and our main challenge is jobs. Atiku Abubakar is an expert at job and wealth creation having created 50,000 jobs in his own private capacity,” the presidential candidate said.
According to the NBS, “The total number of people in part-time employment (or underemployment) decreased from 13.20 million in Q3 2015 to 11.19 million in Q3 2016, but increased to 18.02 million in Q3 2017 and to 18.21 million in Q3 2018.”
It added that of the 20.9 million persons classified as unemployed as at Q3 2018, 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.
The bureau stated that of the 9.7 million unemployed that did absolutely nothing as at Q3 2018, 90.1% 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.
“On the other hand, 9.9 million or 0.9% 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.
“Of the 9.7 million that were unemployed and did nothing at all, 35.0% or 3.4 million have been unemployed and did nothing at all for less than a year, 17.2% or 1.6 million for a year, 15.7% or 1.5 million had been unemployed and did nothing for two years, and the remaining 32.1% or 3.1 million unemployed persons had been unemployed doing nothing for three and above years.
In terms of unemployment by gender, 26.6% of women within the labour force (aged 16-64 and willing, able, and actively seeking work) were unemployed during the quarter under review.
“This is 6.3 percentage points higher than unemployment rate for men (20.3%), and 3.5 percentage points higher than the total labour force unemployment rate, which is 23.1%. 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% 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% of men in the labour force (aged 16-64 and willing, able, and actively seeking work) were unemployed. 15.4% 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,” NBS said.
By age group, unemployment rate for young people aged 15 to 24, stood at 36.5%, and 24.4% for those aged 25 to 34, making the total youth unemployment rate 29.7% for Q3, 2018. This represents a 4.2 percentage point increase in the youth unemployment rate compared to Q3, 2017.
“Comparatively, these results show a decline in the rate of increase in the unemployment rate between Q3 2017 and Q3, 2018, and an actual decline in the youth unemployment rate between Q2 2018 and Q3 2018.
“The unemployment rate for those aged 15-24 and 25-34 declined by 1.5 and 0.4 percentage point respectively in Q3 2018 when compared to the previous quarter,” the bureau revealed.
NBS said underemployment within the same quarter for those aged 15 to 24 declined from 34.2% in Q3 2017 to 32.1% in Q3, 2018. Amongst the 25 to 34 age group, underemployment declined from 22.3% in Q3 2017 to 20.7% in Q3 2018. Altogether, the youth underemployment rate was 25.7% in Q3 2018, a decline of 1.5 percentage points from the 27.2% recorded in Q3, 2017.
“As of Q3 2018, 68.7% of young people in the labour force, aged 15-24 years, were either underemployed (engaged in work for less than 20 hours a week) or unemployed (willing and actively seeking to work), compared to 67.3% in the same period of last year,” NBS said.