Poverty escalates in Nigeria as unemployment rate hits record 33%

March 15, 2021
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A REPORT published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed that one in three Nigerians is now without a job.

This is contained in the latest report by the NBS released on Monday titled ‘Labour Force Statistics, Unemployment and Under Employment – Q4 2020’ which states that 33.3 percent of the current population of Nigeria is unemployed.

This shows that poverty is escalating in Africa’s most populous nation with 98 million out of 200 million in multidimensional poverty.  Unemployment has risen by nearly 400 percent since 2015, spiking from 6.75 percent in the third quarter of 2015 to 33.3 percent in the last quarter in 2020.  Multidimensional poverty encapsulates deprivations in many dimensions, including lack of education and job, poor quality of work and threat of violence, according to Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.

According to the NBS, the 33.3 percent is a 23 percent increase from the 27.1 percent rate recorded in the second quarter  of 2020 (Q2) 2020. 

Underemployment rate declined from 28.6 percent in Q2 2020 to 22. 8 percent in Q4 2020.

Labour statistics for Quarter 4, 2020
Source: NBS

Although Nigeria has a huge population of young people between the age of 15-34 years, the data revealed that the unemployment rate within this age group rose to 42.5 percent in Q4 of 2020, from 34.9 percent in Q2 2020.

Underemployment for young Nigerians declined to 21.0 percent in Q4 of 2020, from 28.2 percent recorded in Q2 of 2020.

The NBS data also disclosed that the number of Nigerians with jobs during Q4 of 2020 was 46.49 million while 30. 57 million were fully employed. About 15. 915 million were under-employed.

The under-employed Nigerians are those who work between 20-29 hours per week while the fully employed work more than 40 hours in a week.

For Q4 2020, the rate of unemployment among rural dwellers increased to 34.5 percent, from 28.2 percent recorded in Q2 2020. Among urban dwellers, the rate of unemployment also increased from 26.4 percent recorded in Q2 2020 to 31.3 percent in Q4 2020.

The federal government has promised to create about 20 million new jobs within the next four years in four sectors of the economy.

Okechukwu Enelamah, former industry minister  disclosed this at a stakeholders’ meeting in Abuja on May 27, 2019. But the economy has lost more jobs since then.

President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to lift 100 million out of poverty, but this is turning out in the opposite direction.

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