The unemployment rate in the country drastically reduced in the first quarter of 2023, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Under the revised methodology, the unemployment rate stood at 4.1% in the first quarter compared to 5.3% in the fourth quarter of 2022.
In the published report titled, ‘Nigeria Labour Force Statistics Report Q4 2022 & Q1 2023’ released on Thursday, NBS said the report represents an in-depth analysis of key labour market indicators including unemployment, underemployment, informal employment and hours worked, in line with international best practices.
The NBS said it adopted the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) ‘‘Resolution concerning statistics of work, employment, unemployment, and labour underutilisation’’, and the latest International Labour Organisation (ILO) model questionnaire, which includes unemployment among persons engaged in ‘‘Own Consumption work’’.
The figures read, “About three-quarters of working-age Nigerians were employed – 73.6% in Q4 2022 and 76.7% in Q1 2023, indicating that most people were engaged in some type of job for at least one hour in a week, for pay or profit.
“The unemployment rate was 5.3% in Q4 2022 and 4.1% in Q1 2023 – This aligns with the rates in other developing countries where work, even if only for a few hours and in low-productivity jobs, is essential to make ends meet, particularly in the absence of any social protection for the unemployed.
“The share of wage employment was 13.4% in Q4 2022 and 11.8% in Q1 2023, while more Nigerians operate their own businesses or engaged in farming activities, recorded at 73.1% in Q4, 2022 and 75.4% in Q1, 2023. About one-third (36.4% in Q4 2022 and 33.2% in Q1 2023) of employed persons worked less than 40 hours per week in both quarters. This was most common among women, individuals with lower levels of education, young people, and those living in rural areas.
“Underemployment rate which is the share of employed people working less than 40 hours per week and declaring themselves willing and available to work more was 13.7% in Q4 2022 and 12.2% in Q1 2023. The rate of informal employment including agriculture among the employed Nigerians was 93.5% in Q4 2022 and 92.6% in Q1 2023.”
Nigeria has faced high unemployment rates for years, hence, experts have criticized the methodology, contending that it fails to offer a more profound understanding of the true unemployment rates in the country.
They claimed that these figures could mislead governments, policy formulators, and other recipients who utilize these statistics.
Compared to the fourth quarter of 2020, when NBS recorded a high 33.3% jobless rate, the analysts maintained that the current figure does not reflect the current realities, where many have lost their jobs as a result of high levels of inflation and the government has continued to face challenges in creating job opportunities.
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