The NBS has released three quarters of data in its Unemployment and Underemployment Report (Q1-Q3 2017). Unsurprisingly, the data do not paint a pretty picture since Nigeria was still in recession in the first quarter in question and emerging slowly from it in the second and third. In Q3 2017 the proportion of the labour force either unemployed or underemployed was 40.0%, compared with 37.3% the previous quarter and 33.6% in the comparable year-earlier period. There has been a steady increase for more than two years.
The underemployed work an average of between 20 and 39 hours per week according to the criteria of the NBS, and the unemployed an average of between zero and 19 hours.
While the economy has emerged from a recession that lasted for five quarters, job creation has been patchy and far short of the growth rate of the labour force. In Q3 2017 alone, the labour force increased by 1.2 million Nigerians. At the margins, various FGN schemes have slowed the rise in the unemployment rate. Commercial agriculture and manufacturing are generally thought to have the highest potential for rapid job creation.
In terms of age group, the highest unemployment rate was 33.1% for those between 15 and 24 years, and the lowest 11.7% for Nigerians between 35 and 44 years. This is a consistent international trend.
For the sake of curiosity, the report produces a league table of international unemployment rates with the caveat that methodology is likely to vary across jurisdictions. Nigeria sits in 28th place in the table. The five highest rates are to be found in Djibouti, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Haiti and Afghanistan.