- The new unemployment data by the National Bureau of Statistics has taken Nigerians by surprise
- This follows an earlier report that Nigeria’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.1% in the first quarter of 2023 from 33%
- From the reactions on social media, it appears many expected the rate to go higher rather than decline
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Reactions have greeted the recently released unemployment data which took many Nigerians by surprise.
From the 33% record in 2020 that was widely recognised, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS recently announced a drastic reduction to 4.1%.
Legit.ng earlier reported that Nigeria’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.1% for the first quarter of 2023 from 5.3% recorded in the previous quarter.
Meanwhile, a recently released report by KPMG earlier estimated Nigeria's unemployment at 40.6% in 2023, from 37.7% in 2022.
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Samuel Oyekanmi, a financial analyst said it is hard to question if the new data is a true reflection of reality considering that the NBS has said they reviewed the methodology in line with the International Labour Organization; which changes (increases the age category) the definition of being employed and the definition of labour age population thereby reducing the ratio.
"Before we used to work with around 15 to 64 but now it is 15 and above. The interesting thing is that in an environment like Nigeria, people still work even at the age of 70 because of the high level of poverty in the country."
He added the new methodology also captures everyone who works irrespective of the amount of time daily.
"Initially, it used to be 20 hours weekly, but now, even if it is one hour, as far as you have done something and you are earning from it, then you are classified to be employed. This has actually led to an increase in the number of people employed and reduced the number of unemployed people from that labour-age population from 33.3 downward
"So for me, the number does not necessarily reflect what we are seeing but because the methodology is said to be in line with the ILO, then you really can't fault that. It does not mean there is no high unemployment in Nigeria. It's even interesting when you look at the number, you will see that over 90% of those employed in Nigeria are doing informal jobs not necessarily salary-based."
"When you look at the composition of those numbers, you find out that those who are salary earners are less than 10%. So it gives you an indication that the health of the job market is not actually good. It's just that the number is reflecting something broader but the unemployment rate in the country is not good. Don't forget that there has been mass exodus in different companies. A lot of people have left their jobs recently and organizations are still trying to replace them"
How Nigerians are reacting
The new information has left Nigerians wondering how a country battling a bunch of economic issues like FX scarcity and high inflation managed to come out of its unemployment problems.
Nigerians have since taken to social media to express their views on the recent report and question the figure they described as magical.
"4% unemployment rate but >=80% of your citizens can hardly make ends meet. Only in Nigeria."
"From 2015 to 2022 Nigeria Unemployment Rate is 33% But because Tinubu and his drug baron supporters want Nigeria to believe what they are doing now they're telling us that Unemployment Rate is now 4.1% in just 2 months. In a country where people can't see food to eat."
"What if the unemployment rate dropped because many Nigerians youths are now earning in $ on Twitter?"
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"Welldone @NBS_Nigeria for performing a successful forgery on our unemployment rate. Your 4.1% reduction without jobs is genius The spirit of INEC doth rest on you. Pls remember other sectors. Fake it to make it Faith without forgery is dead Good governance must appear by force!"
"Unemployment figures now down to 4.1% from 33%. Now, this is a true reflection of the Nigerian Labour market! Underemployment is the issue not unemployment."
"4.1% unemployment rate statistics is inaccurate and does not reflect the reality of our people. The insult must stop immediately."
Nigeria’s Unemployment Rate at 33% is Highest Worldwide
According to the data, which was also confirmed by The Punch, Nigeria has the highest percentage (33.3%), followed by South Africa (32.9%), also an African nation, and Iran (15.55%).
On the other hand, the countries with the lowest rate of unemployment were Qatar: 0.1%, Cambodia: 0.36%, and Niger 0.5%.