3.67 million jobs lost in one year – statistics

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The harsh economic situation facing the country may have forced about 3.67 million Nigerians into the employment market between October 2015 and last September, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has said.

According to the Bureau’s analysis of the unemployment in the country, the number of unemployed Nigerians rose from 7.51 million in the beginning of October 2015 to 11.19 million at the end of last September.

The report for the fourth quarter of last year, which is still being prepared by the NBS, is due for release on March 29.

The report stated that while the number of those employed rose from 55.21 million in the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2015 to 69.47 million as of the end of last September, the labour force population rose from 75.94 million to 80.66 million.

A breakdown of the 3.67 million unemployed Nigerians showed that about 522,000 people became jobless within the fourth quarter of 2015; while 1.44 million people joined the labour force in the first quarter of 2016.

For the second and third quarters of 2016, further analysis of the report showed that about 1.16 million and 550,000 people entered the market.

The report explained that unemployment rate was highest for persons in the labour force between 15-24 and 25-34.

For instance, it said the unemployment rate was highest for those within the age group of 15 to 24, rising from 17.8 per cent in the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2015 to 25 per cent as of the end of last September.

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For the 25-34 age group, the unemployment rate, according to the report, increased from 10.8 per cent to 15 per cent as of the end of last September, adding that unemployment and underemployment were higher for women in the third quarter of last year.

It said while 15.9 per cent of women in the labour force were unemployed as at the end of the third quarter of last year, a further 22.9 per cent of women in the labour force were underemployed during the period.

On the other hand, the report said 12 per cent of males were unemployed in the third quarter of last year, while a further 16.7 per cent of males in the labour force were underemployed during the same period.

“Given that the nature of rural jobs is largely menial and unskilled, such as in agriculture, unemployment is more of a concern in urban areas where more skilled labour is required.

“The unemployment rate in the urban areas was 18.3 per cent compared to 11.8 per cent in the rural areas, as the preference is more for formal white-collar jobs, which are located mostly in urban centres,” the report said.

On the unemployment rate in the country, Institute of Productivity and Business Innovation Management President, Mr. Remi Dairo, said the harsh operating environment might have been responsible for the development.

He said: “The huge number of unemployment is a reflection of the economic realities as only few businesses are growing and employing while many others are shedding jobs.

“The lack of productive skills in both the private and public sectors is one of the major reasons for the country’s underdevelopment and there is need for a comprehensive education policy that would help to address the skill gaps in the country.

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“To close the gaps in skills between the programmes of educational institutions and the requirements in the industry, the government needs to restructure the educational system to meet the present and future needs of the country.”

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