Nigeria’s 33 percent unemployment rate is second highest globally: Report

*Nigeria’s jobless rate increased to 33.3 percent in Q4 2020, as a third of the 69.7 million-strong labour force either did nothing, or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed

Alexander Davis | ConsumerConnect

With less than half of Nigeria’s labour force is fully employed, unemployment in Africa’s largest economy surged to the second highest on a global list of countries monitored by Bloomberg.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in a report on its Web site Monday, March 15, the jobless rate in the country increased to 33.3 percent in the three months through December 2020.

That’s up from 27.1 percent in the second quarter of 2020, the last period for which the agency released labor-force statistics.

A third of the 69.7 million-strong labour force in Africa’s most populous nation either did nothing, or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed, according to the Nigerian definition, report stated.

Another 15.9 million worked less than 40 hours a week, making them underemployed.

The top oil producer surpassed South Africa on a list of 82 countries whose unemployment rates are tracked in the survey. Namibia still leads the list with 33.4 percent.

Nigeria’s jobless rate has more than quadrupled over the last five years as the economy went through two recessions, casting a shadow over the efforts at implementing policies to drive growth and create jobs by President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.

In terms of food costs in the country, report indicates the lack of jobs adds to pressure on consumers in Nigeria where food prices rose more than 20 percent year-on-year in January 2021.

It was gathered that Nigeria’s finances were knocked by last year’s drop in the price of oil, which accounts for 90 percent of foreign exchange (Forex) earnings and about half of government income.

Likewise, over 60 percent of Nigeria’s working-age population is younger than 34. Unemployment for people aged 15 to 24 stood at 53.4 percent in the fourth quarter, and at 37.2 percent for people aged 25 to 34.

The jobless rate for women was 35.2 percent compared with 31.8 percent for men.

The recovery of the economy with 200 million people will be slow, with growth seen at 1.5 percent this year, after last year’s 1.9 percent contraction, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Output will only recover to pre-pandemic levels in 2022, the lender said.

The number of people looking for jobs will keep rising as population growth continues to outpace output expansion, according to report.

Nigeria is expected to be the world’s third most populous country by 2050, with over 300 million people, according to the United Nations (UN).

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