Unemployment - Sub-Nationals in Focus - Imo State Records Highest Unemployment Rate of 48.7%


Friday, August 21, 2020 / 10:18 AM / by FBNQuest Research / Header Image Credit: Daily Trust 

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Today we continue our commentary around the recently released NBS labour force report. Nigeria has a large population, estimated as high as 198 million and largely untapped human capital. The report also covers unemployment by state. It shows that in Q2 2020, Imo State recorded the highest rate of unemployment - 48.7%. This was followed by Akwa Ibom with 45.2% and Rivers State with 43.7. The states with the lowest rates were Anambra, Kwara and Sokoto at 13.1%, 13.8% and 13.9% respectively.


The labour force size for each state is a core element of the labour force statistics. Lagos' population, the highest, is estimated at 6.8 million. Kano, Rivers and Kaduna had 4.5 million, 3.9 million and 3.4 million respectively as their labour force size in Q2 2020.


According to the NBS report, states with a higher propensity for women to be housewives or that have indigenes with negative attitudes to work tend to have lower unemployment rates as they are not considered part of the labour force in the first place, and as such have no bearing on the rate of unemployment.



Specific State Unemployment rates (%)

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Sources: National Bureau of Statistics (NBS); FBNQuest Research


Due the peculiarity of this survey because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the survey incorporated the number of individuals with jobs but were unable to work due to the pandemic. The results show that an estimated 2,736,076 people (or 3.4% of the labour force) did not work during the period but have secured jobs to return to after COVID-19 lockdown restrictions are fully lifted.


Lagos state has made positive steps with job placements through the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF). During a digital dialogue briefing held in June, the Executive Director of LSETF disclosed that they have considered empowering other states by sharing aspects of their model to boost job creation and support the youth population across states in Nigeria. Edo State has already benefitted from this model.

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