The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, has said 21,764,617 Nigerians are unemployed, with Imo State recording the highest rate of unemployment at 48.7 percent, followed by Akwa Ibom State.
NBS, however, noted that the unemployment and underemployment rates varied across states, according to the nature of economic activities predominant in each state. The statistics are contained in the bureau’s Labour Force Statistics website, entitled “Unemployment and Underemployment Report (Q2 2020) released in Abuja. It referred to the report as an Abridged Labour Force Survey under COVID-19 for August 2020.
The unemployment rate during the period in reference represented a 27.1 percent rise from the 23.1 percent recorded in the third quarter of 2018. “A rise in unemployment generally means the number of people searching for jobs has increased, which can occur because people previously outside the labour force 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,” the NBS said.
According to the report, the total number of people in employment during the reference period is 58,527,276, a 15.8 percent reduction in employment in the third quarter of 2020. Of this number, 35,585,274 were full-time employed, who worked for 40 hours or more per week, while 22,942,003 were under-employed and worked between 20 to 29 hours per week.
The number of persons in the labour force, people within ages 15 to 64, able and willing to work was estimated to be 80,291,894. The figure represented an 11.3 per cent decrease in the number of persons recorded in the third quarter of 2018. Of this number, those within the age bracket of 25 to 34 were highest with 23,328,460, representing 29.1 percent of the labour force.
The NBS noted that the unemployment rate among rural dwellers in the period under review increased to 28 percent from 23.9 percent in the third quarter of 2018. Urban dwellers also reported a rate of 25.4 percent up from 21.2 percent. In the case of underemployment among rural dwellers, it rose to 31.5 percent in the period under review from 22.8 percent in the third quarter of 2018.
The rate among urban dwellers also rose to 23.2 percent from 13.7 percent in the third quarter of 2018. Moreover, the unemployment rate among young people, ages 15 to 34 in the second quarter of 2020 was 34.9 percent up from 29.7 percent in the third quarter of 2018. Also, the rate of underemployment for the same age group rose to 28.2 percent from 25.7 percent. These rates were the highest when compared to other age groupings.
For state statistics under the second quarter of 2020, Imo reported the highest rate of unemployment with 48.7 percent, followed by Akwa Ibom and Rivers with 45.2 percent and 43.7 percent respectively. The state with the lowest rate was Anambra in the South-East with 13.1 percent. For underemployment, the state which recorded the highest rate was Zamfara with 43.7 percent, while Anambra recorded the lowest underemployment rate, with 17 percent.
A total number of 2,736,076 did not do any work in the last seven days preceding the survey due to the lockdown but had secure jobs to return to after the lockdown. The NBS said the unemployment and underemployment rates varied across states, according to the nature of economic activities predominant in each state. “Favourable conditions in one state may lead to an influx of job seekers in that state and in the process increasing unemployment in the performing state, while reducing the unemployment rate in the originating state. “This may give a false impression that the state with the lower unemployment rate is performing better,” it said.