Labour Force Population Increases to 76.96 million in Q4 2015 - NBS

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016 9:25AM /NBS

Highlights of Unemployment and Underemployment in Q4 2015
The economically active population or working age population (persons within ages 15 and 64) increased from 104.3 million in Q3 2015 to 105.02 million in Q4 2015, this represents a 0.68% increase over the previous quarter and a 3.2% increase when compared to Q4 2014.

In Q4 2015, the labour force population (i.e those within the working age population willing, able and actively looking for work) increased to 76.96 million from 75.94million in Q3 2015, representing an increase of 1.34% in the labour force during the quarter.

This means 1.02 million persons in the economically active population entered the labour force, that is individuals that were able, willing and actively looking for work. This increase was the highest quarterly jump in the labour force population during the year 2015.

However, within the reference period, the total number of person in full time employment (did any form of work for at least 40hours) decreased by 710,693 or 1.29% when compared to the previous quarter, and but increased by 607,135 or 1.13% when compared to Q4 of 2014.

With an economically active or working age population of 105.02 million and labour force population of 76.9million, this means 28.1million persons within the economically active or working age population decided not to work for one reason or the other in Q4, hence were not part of the labour force and cannot be considered unemployed.

The number of underemployed in the labour force (those working but doing menial jobs not commensurate with their qualifications or those not engaged in fulltime work and merely working for few hours) increased by 1.21 million or 9.16%, resulting in an increase in the underemployment rate to 18.7% (14.42million persons) in Q4 2015, from 17.4% (13.2mn) in Q3 2015 and 18.3% (13.5mn) in Q2 2015.

During the same period, the number of unemployed in the labour force, increased by 518,102 persons, resulting in an increase in the national unemployment rate to 10.4% in Q4 2015 from 9.9% in Q3 2015 and from 8.2% in Q2 2015. In view of this, there were a total of 22.45 million persons in the Nigerian labour force in Q4 2015, that were either unemployed or underemployed compared to compared to 20.7 million in Q3 2015 and 19.6 million in Q2 2015.

Unemployment and Underemployment by Age Group

As has been the case, unemployment and underemployment was highest for persons in the labour force between the ages of 15‐24 and 25‐34, which represents the youth population in the labour force.

The unemployment rate was highest for those within the ages of 15‐24 (19.0% in Q4 2015, up from 17.8% in Q3 2015, 14.9% in Q2 2015 and 13.7% in Q1 2015), while the underemployment rate for those within the ages 15‐24 increased to 34.5% in Q4 2015 from 31.8% in Q3, 33.8% in Q2 and 30.6% in Q1 2015.


For the 25‐34 age group, the unemployment rate also increased to 11.4% in Q4 from 10.8% in Q3 2015 from 8.9% in Q2 2015 and 8.2% in Q1 2015, while underemployment rose to 19.9% in Q4 from 18.5% in Q3 2015, 19.5% in Q2 and 17.7% in Q1 2015.

Accordingly, 53.5% of Nigerians in the labour force (not entire population), aged 15‐24 were either unemployed or underemployed in Q4 2015 compared to 49.6% in Q3 2015, 48.7% in Q2 and 44.3% in Q1 2015. Of persons aged between 25 and 34, 31.3% of that group were either unemployed or underemployed in Q4 2015 compared to 29.3% in Q3, 28.4% and 25.9% in Q2 and Q1 2015 respectively.

Consequently, out of a total youth labour force population of 36.7million (representing 47.7% of total labour force in Nigeria of 76.9mn), a total of 14.8million of them were either unemployed or underemployed in Q4 2015. (Important to note that there is a technical distinction between not working and unemployed. A youth may not be working but may not necessarily be unemployed.

A youth not working will only be termed unemployed if he is willing and able to work and actively looking for work within the review period. It is also important to note distinction between unemployed and underemployed. You are unemployed if you do nothing at all and underemployed if you still manage to do something for some money for at least 20 hours a week but is menial and not fully engaging relative to your skills, time and qualifications)

Unemployment and Underemployment by Gender
As was the case in previous quarters, unemployment and underemployment was higher for women than men in Q4 2015. While 12.3% of women in the labour force (those between 15‐65 willing, able and actively working or searching for work) were unemployed in Q4 2015, another 22.0% of women in the labour force were underemployed in Q4 2015. On the other hand, 8.8% of males were unemployed in Q4 2015, while another 15.7% of males in the labour force were underemployed during the same period.

Urban and Rural Unemployment and Underemployment
Underemployment continues to be predominant in rural areas, 22.6% of rural dwellers were underemployed compared to 9.7% urban of dwellers. Given that the nature of rural jobs is largely in agriculture, which is seasonal in nature, unemployment is more of a concern in urban areas with 12.8% unemployment in urban area compared to 9.5% in the rural areas, as the preference is more for formal white collar jobs, which are located mostly in urban centres.

Country Comparisons of Unemployment
Unemployment is not just a Nigerian problem. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) on whose recommendation most countries in the world unemployment methodology is based including Nigeria, states that 201 million people globally are unemployed and this may rise to 219 million by 2019. With 8.0 million Nigerians technically unemployed (not including the remaining 14.4mn underemployed), this means 4% of the worlds unemployed are Nigerians.

If we add the number of underemployed in Nigeria (though other countries and the ILO methodology do not add this to unemployment and keep these numbers separate like we now do in Nigeria) in the interest of seeking full time and gainful employment for Nigerians, then Nigeria will represent about 14 percent of global unemployment. |

The ILO has previously forecast a global unemployment rate of 5.9% this year and next, compared with 5.5% before the global financial crisis in 2007, implying that Nigeria’s Q4 unemployment rate of 10.4% (minus an additional 18.7% underemployment) is higher than the global average.

The highest unemployment rate in the world as of latest reported in q4 2015 is recorded in Djibouti (54%), Congo(46%), Bosnia and Herzegovinian(42.9%), Haiti (40.6%), Afghanistan (40%), Kenya (40%), Kosovo(35%), while the lowest are found in Qatar (0.2%), Cambodia (0.3%), Belarus(0.5%), Thailand(0.8%), Benin (1.0%), Madagascar (1.2%), Laos (1.40%) and Guinea Bissau(1.80%).

Nigeria with an unemployment rate of 10.4% in Q4 2015 has a better unemployment rate than reported in 66 countries but worse than 111 countries, including 23 African countries which have unemployment rates lower than 10.4%. If we add underemployment to unemployment and get a rate of 29.2% for Q4 2015, then Nigeria has the 7th highest unemployment rate in the world (Important to note other countries don’t add underemployment) with only Kenya Congo and Djibouti with worse rates in Africa.




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