Data from the National Bureau of Statistics reveal Imo State, located in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria has the highest unemployment rate in the country.

In contrast, Anambra State is the state with the least unemployment in the country with a 13.1% unemployment rate. The national average for the unemployment rate is 27.1%

Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to 27.1% in the second quarter of 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Friday. The report comes several quarters after the statistics bureau released its last report in 2018. The new rate is an increase from 23.1% unemployed in the third quarter of 2018

The report comes several quarters after the statistics bureau released its last report in 2018.

The new rate is an increase from 23.1% unemployed in the third quarter of 2018.

In the 2018 report, Nigeria’s unemployment rate increased from 18.8 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 to 23.1 per cent in the third quarter of 2018.

The Nigerian economy has been hit by the impact of unfavourable policies amiss coronavirus, amid depleting oil revenues.

Experts have said that the economic downturn would affect employment generation as companies cut cost and lay off workers to stay afloat.

A breakdown of the new report showed that the number of persons in the economically active or working-age population (15 – 64 years of age) during the reference period of the survey was 116,871,186. This is 1.2% higher than the figure recorded in the third quarter of 2018, which was 115,492,969.

The number of persons in the labour force (i.e. people within ages 15 -64, who are able and willing to work) was estimated to be 80,291,894, a figure 11.3% less than the number persons in Q3, 2018.

Of the 58,527,276 people in employment (i.e. people with jobs) during the reference period, 35,585,274 were full-time employed (i.e. worked 40+ hours per week), while 22,942,003 were underemployed (i.e. working between 20-29 hours per week).

The figure is 15.8% less than the people in employment in Q3, 2020, the NBS said.

Similarly, the underemployment rate increased from 20.1% in Q3 2018, to 28.6% in the period under review.

The unemployment rate among rural dwellers was put at 28%, up from 23.9% in Q3 2018, while urban dwellers reported a rate of 25.4%, up from 21.2%. The NBS noted further that in the case of underemployment among rural dwellers, it rose to 31.5% from 22.8%, while the rate among urban dwellers rose to 23.2% from 13.7% in Q3, 2018.

The report also showed that the unemployment rate among young people (15-34years) was 34.9%, up from 29.7%, while the rate of underemployment for the same age group rose to 28.2% from 25.7% in Q3, 2018.

These rates were the highest when compared to other age groupings, the report showed.

In terms of state disaggregation, Imo reported the highest rate of unemployment with 48.7%, followed by Akwa-Ibom State and Rivers State with 45.2% and 43.7% respectively. The State with the lowest rate was Anambra in the South-East with 13.1%.

The NBS added that a total number of 2,736,076 did not do any work in the last 7 days preceding the survey due to the lockdown, occasioned by a coronavirus, but had secure jobs to return to after the lockdown.

Worrisome Trend

Last year, the Nigerian government said the unemployment rate would reach 33.5 per cent by 2020.

Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, said at the time that the incessant increase in the rate of unemployment in the country was alarming.

According to him, the high unemployment rate shown in NBS reports at the time was alarming.

“It is a worrisome status as the global poverty capital (World Bank, 2018); and concomitant high prevalence rate of crimes and criminality, including mass murders, insurgency, militancy, armed robbery, kidnappings and drug abuse, among others,” he said.

“As if this situation is not scary enough, it is projected that the unemployment rate for this country will reach 33.5 per cent by 2020, with consequences that are better imagined, if the trend is not urgently reversed.

“It is a thing of joy to note that Nigeria has not been resting on her oars over the years in terms of dedicated efforts to curb the unemployment problem.”

Last year, a financial advisory firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, predicted a possible rise in Nigeria unemployment rate and slow economic growth.

The predictions were contained in a report titled ‘Nigeria Economic Outlook Top 10 themes for 2019’, which examines Nigeria’s economic prospects in the year.

PwC predicted that the unemployment rate will “continue to trend upward even as the youth population expands rapidly with more than half of the population under the age of 30.”

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