New figures from NBS shows 21 million Nigerians are unemployed

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The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Wednesday released Nigeria’s latest Labour Force Statistics.

NBS said the number of unemployed Nigerians has hit 21 million.

This came just days after the Buhari administration said the Agriculture sector alone has employed 12million people in 2 years.

NBS, on its website, stated that the economically active or working age population (15 – 64 years of age) increased from 111.1 million in Q3, 2017 to 115.5million in Q3, 2018.

It said the number of persons in the labour force (i.e. people who are able and willing to work increased from 75.94 million in Q3 2015 to 80.66 million in Q3 2016 to 85.1 million in Q3,2017 to 90.5million in Q3, 2018.

NBS added that the total number of people in employment (i.e with jobs) increased from 68.4 million in Q3 2015, to 68.72 million in Q3 2016, to 69.09 million in Q3 2017 and 69.54 million in Q3 2018.

“The total number of people in full-time employment (at least 40 hours a week) increased from 51.1 million in Q3 2017 to 51.3 million in Q3, 2018”, the statistics showed.

“The total number of people in part-time employment (or underemployment) decreased from 13.20 million in Q3 2015 to 11.19 million in Q3 2016 but increased to 18.02 million in Q3 2017 and to 18.21 million in Q3 2018.

“The total number of people classified as unemployed, which means they did nothing at all or worked too few hours (under 20 hours a week) to be classified as employed increased from 17.6 million in Q4 2017 to 20.9 million in Q3 2018.

“Of the 20.9 million persons classified as unemployed as at Q3 2018 11.1 million did some form of work but for too few hours a week (under 20 hours) to be officially classified as employed while 9.7 million did absolutely nothing.

“Of the 9.7 million unemployed that did absolutely nothing as at Q3 2018, 90.1% of them or 8.77 million were reported to be unemployed and doing nothing because they were first time job seekers and have never worked before. On the other hand, 9.9million 0r 0.9% of the 9.7 million that were unemployed and doing nothing at all reported they were unemployed and did nothing at all because they were previously employed but lost their jobs at some point in the past which is why they were unemployed.

“Of the 9.7 million that were unemployed and did nothing at all, 35.0% or 3.4 million have been unemployed and did nothing at all for less than a year, 17.2% or 1.6 million for a year, 15.7% or 1.5 million had been unemployed and did nothing for 2 years, and the remaining 32.1% or 3.1 million unemployed persons had been unemployed doing nothing for 3 and above years.

“The unemployment rate accordingly, increased from 18.8% in Q3 2017 to 23.1% in Q3, 2018”.

On Monday, Statistician-General of the National Bureau of Statistics, Dr. Yemi Kale, reacted to comment by the presidency that his agency’s high unemployment statistics was wrong.

On Monday, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, said Kale failed to reflect the rising rate of employment in the agriculture sector.

Shehu said during a recent meeting with the Federal Executive Council, Kale admitted that the NBS was only focusing on the creation of white collar jobs and not the agriculture sector and the informal sector.

He said, “There was a departure last week. The NBS chief had addressed the federal cabinet and he made the admission himself that they had concentrated analysis over time on white collar jobs and they had not taken cognisance of job creation in areas of agriculture.

“Rice Producers Association of Nigeria made the open claim and nobody has challenged them up until the time that we speak, that they had created 12 million new jobs.

“When he finished addressing the federal cabinet last week, the government asked the DG of the NBS, go out there and tell the Nigerian public, you are just saying to us now that Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi and Ebonyi are recording the lowest unemployment rates in the country on account of agriculture.

“So, the point is that the data collected which has formed a judgement on the data that have been passed and misleading and I think there is now a convergence. The data has been unfair to the administration, it had ignored job creation in the areas of agriculture but that is now being integrated and Nigerians will be impressed.”

Reacting on Monday, Kale stated that he never told he federal government that NBS concentrated analysis on white collar jobs.

He spoke via his Twitter account @sgyemikale.

Kale tweeted: “Assuming what you claimed was said was actually said, then I make it very clear that neither the statistician-general nor NBS ever made any such admission at any time to anybody and the unemployment computations do take into account all sectors, age groups and both rural and urban areas.”

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