08 June 2015, Abuja – Nigeria’s unemployment rate jumped to 7.5 per cent in the first quarter of the year (Q1 2015) compared to 6.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
It said the number of unemployed in the labour force increased by 18.43 per cent to 861,110 persons between Q4 2014 and Q1 2015 while the number of underemployed in the labour force declined by 6.46 per cent, thereby reducing the underemployment rate to 16.6 per cent in the period under review compared to 17.9 per cent in the previous quarter.
It noted that in Q1 2015, the labour force population increased to 73.4 million from 72.9million in Q4 2014, representing an increase in the labour force by 0.69 per cent.
The NBS said: “This means 504,596 economically active persons within 1564 entered the labour force i.e. were able and willing and actively looking for work between January 1 and March 31 2015. Within the same period, the total number in full employment (did something for at least 40hours) increased by 0.88 per cent.”
It further stated that 12.2 million Nigerians are said to be underemployed in Q1 2015 compared to 13.1 million persons in Q4 2014.
According to the highlights of the Unemployment and Underemployment Watch for first quarter of 2015 which was released yesterday, the statistical agency said:” There were a total of 17.7 million people between ages 15 and 65 either unemployed or underemployed in the labour force in Q1 2015.
The report said: “The fact that the number of people that became unemployed (861,110 people) in the first quarter 2015 exceed the number of people that entered the labour force within the same period (504,596 persons) is an indication that some persons previously working in full employment lost their jobs while others previously underemployed and doing temporary, or part time work ended whatever they were doing and accordingly now didn’t have anything to do for at least 20 hours a week during the reference period.”
However, it noted that unemployment and underemployment was more pronounced in women than their male counterpart in Q1 2015.
“While 8.9 per cent of women in the labour force (those between 15 and 65 willing, able and actively working or searching for work) were unemployed in Q1 2015, up from 7.5 per cent in Q4 2014, while another 19.6 per cent of women in the labour force were underemployed in Q1 2015. On the other hand, 6.3per cent of males were unemployed in Q1 2015, up from 5.4 per cent in Q4 2014, while another 13.9 per cent of males in the labour force were underemployed,” it added.
Continuing, the NBS said: “The unemployment rate within the review period was highest for those within the ages of 15 and 24 (13.7per cent in Q1 2015, up from 11.7 per cent in Q4 2014), while the underemployment rate for those within the ages of 15 to 24 was 30.6 per cent. For those in the labour force within the ages of 25 to 34 however, unemployment rose to 8.2 per cent in Q1 2015 from 6.9 per cent in Q4 2014, while underemployment stood at 17.7 per cent in Q1 2015 from 19.0 per cent in Q4 2014.
Accordingly 44.3 per cent of Nigerians in the labour force (not entire population) aged 15 to 24 were either unemployed or underemployed, while another 25.9 per cent aged 25 to 34 were either unemployed or under employed in Q1 2015.”
*James Emejo – Thisday