The unemployment report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Tuesday has shown that no fewer than 5.5 million Nigerians became unemployed in the two years of the Muhammadu Buhari administration, even as the unemployment rate rose to 14.2 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016, from 13.9 per cent in the preceding quarter.
Coming on the heels of the NBS report was a nationwide survey conducted by BudgIT showing that Kogi, Benue, Bayelsa, Abia, Ondo, Oyo, Ekiti and 14 other states in the country owe their workers and retirees salaries and pensions ranging from one to 36 months.
According to the latest report released by the NBS, the unemployment rate was 4.2 per cent higher than the rate recorded in the fourth quarter of 2015.
Consequently, 61.6 per cent of Nigerians in the labour force (not the entire population), aged between 15 and 24 were either unemployed or underemployed in Q4 2016, compared to 59.9 per cent in Q3, 58.3 per cent in Q2, 56.1 per cent in Q1, and 53.5 per cent in Q4 2015.
The statistical agency also said the population of the unemployed rose from 11.19 million at the end of the third quarter of 2016 to 11.55 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.
The economically active population or working age population (persons within ages 15 and 64) also increased from 108.03 million to 108.59 million, representing a 0.5 per cent increase over the previous quarter and a 3.4 per cent increase when compared to Q4 2015.
In Q4 2016, the labour force population (those within the working age population willing, able and actively looking for work) increased to 81.15 million, from 80.67 million in Q3 2016, a 0.6 per cent rise in the labour force during the quarter.
The NBS stated that this meant that about 482,689 persons from the economically active population entered the labour force during the quarter (individuals who were able, willing and actively looking for work).
But the magnitude of this increase between Q3 and Q4 2016 was smaller when compared to Q2 and Q3 2016, which recorded an increase of 782,886 in the labour force population.
Within the reference period, the total number of persons in full time employment (who did any form of work for at least 40 hours) decreased by 977,876 or 1.8 per cent, compared to the previous quarter, and decreased by 1.92 million, or 3.5 per cent when compared to Q4 of 2015, translating to a total of 52.58 million persons in full time employment.
“With an economically active or working age population of 108.59 million and labour force population of 81.15 million, it means 27.44 million persons within the economically active or working age population decided not to work for one reason or the other in Q4 2016, hence were not part of the labour force and cannot be considered unemployed.