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NBS new methodology puts Nigeria’s unemployment rate at 4.1% in Q1 2023

NBS new methodology puts Nigeria’s unemployment rate at 4.1% in Q1 2023
August 24
14:26 2023

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) says Nigeria’s unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in the first quarter (Q1) of 2023 and 5.3 percent in the previous quarter.

In the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020, the bureau had pegged the country’s unemployment rate at 33.3 percent.

The NBS, in a statement on Thursday, said the latest unemployment report adopted a new methodology and presented an in-depth analysis of the labour market.

“The latest Nigeria Labour Force Survey (NLFS) report sheds light on the dynamics of labour market within the country,” the statement reads.

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“This report covers the fourth quarter of 2022 and the first quarter of 2023, presenting an in-depth analysis of key labour market indicators such as employment, including unemployment rates, underemployment rates, hours worked, and informal employment.

“The revised methodology aligns with our contemporaries in Africa such as Ghana, Niger, Chad, Cameroon, Benin, Gambia etc, in line with international best practices.”

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE MOVED FROM 5.3% to 4.1% IN THREE MONTHS

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In the new report, the NBS said Nigeria’s unemployment rate was at 5.3 percent in Q4 2022 and declined to 4.1 percent in Q1 2023.

This, according to the agency, aligns with the rates in other developing countries where work, “even if only for a few hours and in low-productivity jobs”, is essential to make ends meet, particularly in the absence of any social protection for the unemployed.

The bureau also said the revised methodology defines employed persons as individuals who are working for pay or profit and who worked for at least one hour in the last seven days against 40 hours.

“The old methodology placed a range on the working-age population- 15 – 64 years, while considering working hours between 20-39 hours as underemployment, 1-19 hrs as unemployment,” the statement reads.

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“In addition, subsistence agriculture and temporary absentees from employment work were not properly represented as well as the absence of mutually exclusiveness of unemployment and employment.

“These improvements, among others, captured in the revised computations will make Nigeria’s Labour Force data comparable with other countries.”

UNDEREMPLOYMENT MOVED FROM 13.7% to 12.2% in THREE MONTHS

The underemployment rate, defined by NBS as a share of employed people working less than 40 hours per week and declaring themselves willing and available to work more, stood at 13.7 percent in Q4 2022 and 12.2 percent in Q1 2023.

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According to the report, the rate of informal employment — including agriculture among the employed Nigerians — was 93.5 percent in Q4 2022 and 92.6 percent in Q1 2023.

NBS said the NLFS also showed that about three-quarters of working-age Nigerians were employed.

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In Q4 2022, according to the bureau, the rate was 73.6 percent and 76.7 percent in Q1 2023 — indicating that most people were engaged in some type of job for at least one hour a week, for pay or profit.

Editor’s note: This headline has been adjusted for accuracy.

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