The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has stated that 76.7 per cent of Nigerians are employed in the first quarter of 2023.
The bureau, which stated that it arrived at the figure using a new methodology, also said Nigeria’s unemployment figure dropped to 4.1% during the quarter from the 33.3% recorded in the Q4 of 2020.
Speaking during the launch of the methodology of the Nigeria Labour Force Survey (NLFS), the Statistician General of the Federation, Prince Adeyemi Adeniran, said the drop was due to the new methodology considering employed persons as those who engaged in at least one hour of work during the last seven days the survey was conducted.
This is a departure from the 20 hours used in the old methodology, the 13th ICLS, which was birthed and adopted in 1982 at the International Conference of Labour Statisticians.
Adeniran said the new figure brings Nigeria’s Labour Survey in tandem with the international standard which is equally used by Niger, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Ghana and other African countries.
He stressed that the new figure was not to give the new government a good face but to bring up the method used to conduct labour surveys in the country.
The old method defined those that are in the labour force to be from 15-64 years old but the new method views it to be 15 and above that are willing, available, and able when the survey is conducted.
The report showed that the share of wage employment was 11.8% while more Nigerians operated their own businesses or engaged in farming activities at 75.4%.
“About one-third 33.2% of employed persons worked less than 40 hours per week. This was most common among women, individuals with lower levels of education, young people, and those living in rural areas,” it noted
It said the underemployment rate, which is the share of employed people working less than 40 hours per week and declaring themselves willing and available to work more, was 12.2%.
While the rate of informal employment including agriculture among the employed Nigerians was 92.6%.
“Those with post-secondary education were the most likely to be employed. In terms of age, young people aged 15-24 were the least likely to be employed, followed by older people aged 65 years and above. Finally, rural dwellers were more likely to be employed than urban dwellers.”
On his part, the Minister for Budget and Economic Planning, Atiku Bagudu, said the 12 per cent waged employment indicates the government needs to do more to provide employment for graduates.
He said the result was released three months into the life of the present administration, thus, has no bearing on what the government has done.
Meanwhile, a senior economist at the SPM Professionals, Paul Alaje, said the reduction of unemployment by the new methodology indicated that the available jobs are not commensurate with job seekers in the country.
“That is why we saw a major drop in unemployment figures; from the 33.3 per cent published in Q4 2020 to the 4.1 per cent in Q1 2023. The reason is that people are engaged in doing one thing or the other but what they are doing is not commensurate with their capacity or what they are able to do. For instance, people that have post-secondary certificates like BSc, MSc and so on, have the capacity to do more, that is what the government will struggle for,” he said.
He added that reduction has nothing to do with the government’s effort in terms of policy direction or creating jobs or the private sector creating more jobs.