Between January and September this year, 4.07 million Nigerians became unemployed, an analysis of the unemployment report for the third quarter released by the National Bureau of Statistics has revealed.
The bureau, in the report made available to our correspondent on Friday, stated that the number of Nigerians that became unemployed rose from 11.92 million in the first quarter of this year to 13.58 million and 15.99 million in the second and third quarters respectively.
It said between the second quarter and third quarter, the number of economically active or working age population (15 – 64 years of age) increased from 110.3 million to 111.1 million.
The NBS report said the increasing unemployment and underemployment rates implied that although Nigeria’s economy was officially out of recession, domestic labour market was still fragile and economic growths in the past two quarters in 2017 had not been strong enough to provide employment in Nigeria’s domestic labour market.
It read in part, “The labour force population increased from 83.9 million in Q2 2017 to 85.1 million in Q3 2017. The total number of people in full-time employment (at least 40 hours a week) declined from 52.7 million in Q2 2017 to 51.1 million in Q3 2017.
“The unemployment rate increased from 14.2 per cent in Q4 2016 to 16.2 per cent in Q2 2017 and 18.8 per cent in Q3 2017.
“The number of people within the labour force who are unemployed or underemployed increased from 13.6 million and 17.7 million respectively in Q2 2017, to 15.9 million and 18 million in Q3 2017.
“Total unemployment and underemployment combined increased from 37.2 per cent in the previous quarter to 40 per cent in Q3 2017.”
It said during the third quarter of this year, 21.2 per cent of women within the labour force that were between the ages of 15 years and 64 years and willing, able, and actively seeking work were unemployed, compared with 16.5 per cent of men within the same period.
The NBS noted in the report that in the third quarter of this year, 16.4 per cent of rural and 23.4 per cent of urban dwellers within the labour force were unemployed. It added that the rate of unemployment was increasing at a slightly faster rate for urban dwellers than it was for their rural counterparts.
“For the period under review, Q3, 2017, the unemployment rate for young people stood at 33.1 per cent for those aged 15 to 24, and 20.2 per cent for those aged 25 to 34,” it added.
In terms of geographical spread, the NBS said in the report that as of the end of the third quarter, Rivers State reported the highest unemployment rate at 41.82 per cent, followed by Akwa-Ibom State (36.58 per cent), Bayelsa State (30.36 per cent), Imo State (29.47 per cent) and Kaduna State (28.96 per cent).
It added that the unemployment population was heavily distributed in southern states, northeastern states, northwestern states, including Kaduna and Sokoto, and two north central states – Nasarawa and Plateau.
It explained that southwestern states including Oyo, Ogun and Lagos, which have large labour forces reported relatively low unemployment rates.
Comparing Nigeria’s third quarter’s unemployment rate with the international rates, the report stated that Nigeria ranked 28th among the international records.
The highest unemployment rates in the world, according to the report, were recorded in Djibouti (54 per cent), Congo (46.1 per cent), Bosnia and Herzegovina (41.7 per cent), Haiti (40.6 per cent), and Afghanistan (40 per cent), while the lowest rates were found in Qatar (0.2 per cent), Cambodia (0.5 per cent), and Belarus, Benin and Thailand, which had unemployment rate of one per cent respectively.