Economic recession, job lay-offs and a 0.6 percent rise in labour force helped push Nigeria’s unemployment rate to 14.2 percent in the fourth and last quarter of 2016 from 13.9 percent in the previous quarter and 10.4 percent in the corresponding period of 2015, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
The NBS figures graphically indicate that unemployment worsen by about four percent within a year
According to the NBS, the labour force population (i.e. those within the working age population willing, able and actively looking for work) increased to 81.15 million from 80.67 million in Q3 2016, representing an increase of 0.6% in the labour force in Q4 2016
This means about 482,689 persons from the economically active population entered the labour force during the quarter, that is individuals that were able, willing and actively looking for work.
“The economically active population or working age population (persons within ages 15 and 64) increased from 108.03 million to 108.59 million, this represents a 0.5% increase over the previous quarter and a 3.4% increase when compared to Q4 2015,” it said.
The NBS, specifically noted that one is unemployed if one did absolutely nothing at all or did something but for less than 20 hours within a week. Underemployment, on the other hand occurs if one worked less than full time hours, which is 40 hours, but worked at least 20 hours on average a week and /or if one worked full time but engaged in an activity that underutilizes ones skills, time and educational qualifications.
The employment situation in Nigeria largely mirrored recent global trends, which is dominated by economic recession and turmoil, which precluded people who are willing to work from working.
To this end, at the close of the year (2016) the expansion of the global economy was too weak to close the significant employment gap that have emerged since the beginning of the global economic crisis in 2008.
Over 200 million people were estimated to be unemployed in the world in 2016, and the projections are for a further increase in global unemployment by more than three million people over the next two years.
The highest unemployment rate in the world is recorded in Djibouti (54%), Congo (46.1%), Bosnia and Herzegovinian (40.1%), Afghanistan (40%) and Kenya (40%), while the lowest are found in Qatar (0.2%), Cambodia (0.5%), Belarus (1%), Benin (1.0%), Thailand (1.2%), Madagascar (1.2%) Laos (1.4%) and Guinea (1.7%).
Nigeria’s unemployment with respect to gender distribution indicates that females are more in the unemployment market.
During the quarter under review, 16.3% of women in the labour force (those between 15‐65 willing, able and actively working or searching for work) were unemployed in Q4 2016, and a further 24.2% of women in the labour force were underemployed.
On the other hand, 12.3% of males were unemployed in Q4 2016, while a further 17.9% of males in the labour force were underemployed during the same period.
Economic watchers who spoke to businessamlive say government should invest in infrastructure, especially roads, rail and power to enable the country’s teeming economic viable population to get themselves engaged in one form of occupation or the other.