Presentation of Labour Statistics based on Revised Concepts & Methodology


May 14, 2015 / 6.07pm /National Bureau of Statistics


Production of Employment Statistics in Nigeria started more than five decades ago by Federal Office of Statistics (FOS) in collaboration with three other government agencies namely National Manpower Board (NMB), Federal Ministry of Employment, Labour and Productivity (FMLP) and National Directorate of Employment (NDE). The collaborative efforts produced the first series of labour statistics in 1966, 1976 and 1981.

FOS started to conduct the annual LFS alone in 1983, with the inception of National Integrated Survey of Households (NISH), which was the Nigerian version of a world-wide National Household Survey Capability Programme (NHSCP). And consequent on the needs of the users, the office ran the labour force as biannual survey in 1985; quarterly surveys from 1986 to 1993. And from year 2000 to 2013 the unemployment statistics were produced annually.

Since the first quarter of 2014, in its effort to produce statistics for the estimation of number of jobs created quarterly, the National Bureau of Statistics has been implementing Labour Force Survey on quarterly basis.

Justification for the Review of Methodology

Efforts have been made in the past to review the standards on labour statistics. In particular, following the recommendation by the International Labour Organization (ILO) mission to Nigeria in 1996, and consultation with major stakeholders in employment statistics, the necessity for a national workshop to harmonise the concept, definition and methodology of employment statistics in Nigeria was endorsed and organised in 1997. One of the major outcomes of the workshop then was the upward review of the number of hours of work to 40 hours within seven days reference period.

In the recent times, unemployment rates have been heavily criticized in various quarters, either for been too high or too low. Governments at various levels considered the rates as too high, judging by the adoption and implementation various “pro-poor” policies while, on the other hand, the vulnerable or those affected by unemployment situation, regarded the rates as rather too low, judging by number of persons in their domains considered to be “unemployed”.



Disagreement with these rates was assumed to have been caused by lack of understanding or disregard for the definitions, concept and methodology used in the computations. This, again lead to the inauguration of the national stakeholders committee which, studied and reviewed the definition, concept and methodology used by the National Bureau of Statistics, at a workshop setting in September, 2014.

Recommendations of the Committee
The outcome of the workshop, as contained in the communiqué, was the recommendation to review the number of hours of work downwards to include those that have worked for 20 hours or more.

The recommendation by the committee can be summarized by the following bullet points:

a. Reclassification of the Labour Force Population

b. Measurement of Labour Underutilization

c. Sample design to enhance more levels of analysis

d. Data collection and processing system to enhance better data quality

Action by NBS
With the availability of the dataset, the first two points have been addressed and the labour statistics have therefore been reproduced; unemployment rates for past five years have been recalculated for the purpose of trend analysis. Comparative analysis could also be made on the trend of labour statistics, using the old and the revised computational methodology. The tables below present the old and the revised labour statistics.


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