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Mar 2021

Nigeria’s Unemployment Rate surgedto 33.3% as at Q4’2020, amid new COVID-19 strain

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the Nigerian economy suffered another coronavirus-inducedsetback,asunemployment ratejumpedfrom 27.1% as atQ2’2020to 33.3% asatQ4’2020. Correspondingly,the number of unemployed persons rose by6.4% to 23.2 million as at Q4’2020 from 21.8 million as at Q2’2020. The current unemployment rate is the highest ever, with unemployment scourge beingmagnified by COVID-19crisis. However,the rate of underemploymentdropped to 22.8% as atQ4’2020 from 28.6% as atQ2’2020.This is partly due to a decline in the number of underemployed or part-time workers from 22.9 million to 15.9 million over the two quarters.

Against expectations, the size of the labour forcefellfurther by 13.2% to 69.7 million as atQ4’2020 from 80.3 millionas atQ2’2020. The lockdown restrictions and constrained business activities in most parts of 2020 resulted in a significant declinein the number of full-time and part-time workers.This was not unprecedented as additional20 million persons dropped out from the labour force between Q2’2020 and Q4’2020.

As at Q4’2020, the rate of unemployment among Nigerian youths,aged 15-34 years,stood at45.2%,up from 34.9% as at Q2’2020. However, the rate of underemployment among youths declined to 21%as atQ4’2020 from 28.2% as atQ2’2020.In addition,unemployment rate was higher for rural dwellersat 34.5%, relative tothe unemployment rate amongst urban dwellers(31.3%). Also, unemployment ratewas higher for the female gender at 35.2%, than for the male genderat31.8%. Thisultimately indicates that thedistribution of socio-economic opportunities differs significantly acrossgenderin Nigeria.

South Western States maintained lower unemployment rates Similar to Q2’2020, Imo State recorded the highest unemployment rate at 56.6% as at Q4’2020.Four South Western States – Osun, Ogun, Ondo and Oyo – recorded the lowest unemployment rates in the quarter. On the flip side, a majority of states from South East and South-South parts of Nigeria recorded higher unemployment rates as at Q4’2020