7 Key Takeaways from the Q3, 2018 Nigerian Unemployment Report


Thursday, December 19, 2018 08.00PM / Ottoabasi Abasiekong for Proshare WebTV


On Wednesday December 19, 2018 the National Bureau of Statistics released the report for Nigeria’s unemployment and under-employment rate for Q3, 2018. 

In this article we highlight seven key takeaways from the latest unemployment index;


Revised Methodology

One of the key features of the report is the revised methodology used by the National Bureau of Statistics to compute unemployment rate in 2014. 

The new method deployed by the NBS classifies people who work over 20 hours per week as Employed, while the old method only considered people who worked for 40 hours per week as employed. The population who work between 20-40 hours per week are considered “underemployed” by the new method of calculation. 

Consequently, unemployed population under the old method equals unemployed population under the new method plus the underemployed population under the new method.


Nigeria Ranks 173rd in Global Employment Index

In terms of comparative analysis at the global level, Nigeria ranks 173 in the unemployment index with Congo recording the highest unemployment rate of 46.1% 

The situation in Nigeria has somewhat followed recent global trends in economic growth and jobs. 

From the analysis while global employment rates appear to be stabilizing, there are,however, some concerns about job recovery. The moderate growth rate recorded by the global economy is still too weak to close the significant unemployment gap that hasemerged since the start of the global economic crisis in 2008. 

With concerns such as Brexit and the migrant population crisis facing large parts of Europe and the United States of America, global economic outlook for the next year, 2019 is moderate, and will have some adverse effects on local employment levels.


A 4.3%  Y-O-Y increase in Unemployment 

Nigeria’s unemployment rate increased by 4.3% from 18.8% in Q3, 2017 to 23.1% in Q3, 2018 or a 0.4% increase on a quarter –on-quarter basis from the 22.7% recorded in Q2 2018. 

The unemployment rate for most recent quarters are: 20.7% in Q4, 2017; 21.8% in Q1, 2018; and 22.7% in Q2, 2018. 

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Source NBS 


20.9 million Nigerians Unemployed

From the recently released National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) unemployment figures,about 20.93 million Nigerians were unemployed, which represented an increase of 2.9 million from the corresponding quarter in Q3, 2017 which stood at 18.0 million.


Under-Employment Rate Remains at 20.1%

The underemployment rate in the economy in Q3 2018 was 20.1% or about the same as the figure for the previous quarter Q2, 2018, and a reduction from the  20.5% reportedin Q4, 2017 and 20.2% recorded in Q1, 2018. 

It equally posted a 1.1% reduction from the corresponding quarter Q3, 2017 whichstood at 21.2%.


Combined Unemployment and Under-Employment rate of 43.3%

The combined underemployed and unemployed Nigerians from the Q3, 2018 rose to 43.3% from 40.0% in Q3, 2017. 

According to the NBS “The increasing unemployment and declining underemployment rates imply that the fragile economic recovery is beginning to create employment, however hours worked within these jobs are not yet enough for full time employment (40+ hours within the week)”. This appears plausible but much of the decline in underemployment rate is attributable to the reclassification of underemployment by the new measurement standards of the NBS. A number of people previously classified as underemployed are now considered employed even though they work for less than 40 hours a week or what amounts to less than eight hours a day for five working days a week, Mondays to Fridays.


Economically Active Nigerians Now 115.49 million

Nigeria’s economically active population rose to approximately 115.5 million people or a 1.2 million increase  from the previous quarter Q2, 2018 which had an active population of 114.3 million people and a 4 million (3.9%) increase from the corresponding quarter (Q3) of 2017. 

This means Nigeria has a rising economically active population with  a high youth demographic component within the age bracket of between 18 and 35 years, which means jobs and economic opportunities will be vital to stabilizing the socio-economic landscape of the nation in months and years ahead.


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