Nigeria’s unemployment figure seen dropping on NBS’ new methodology (

Nigeria’s unemployment figure seen dropping on NBS’ new methodology


Its a mystery why economic planners would.

Before the updated version was announced, some analysts had predicted that the slow growth in the performance of major jobcreating sectors of the economy such as agriculture, manufacturing and trade may further increase Nigerias unemployment rate.

Data from the 2022 Gross Domestic Product report show that economic activities in the agric sector slowed to 1.88 percent in 2022 from 2.13 percent in 2021, manufacturing declined to 2.45 percent from 3.35 percent, and trade plunged to 5.08 percent from 8.62 percent.

Read alsoNBS to release unemployment data May

This likely portends a situation whereby the employment capacity of most of these sectors may have shrunk within these periods, Ayorinde Akinloye, an investor relations analyst at Seplat Energy Plc, said.

He said most of these key sectors contribute to employment in the country and that when activities in those sectors either slows or contracts, we are most likely going to see a situation whereby companies operating in that space may have sort of cut down their labour particularly with the recent surge in inflation.

KPMG, a professional services firm, said the unemployment rate would increase to 40.6 percent in 2023 from 37.7 percent in 2022.

The figure of job seekers would rise in 2023 due to decreased economic growth and the inability of the countrys economy to absorb the four to five million yearly graduates into the Nigerian job market, it said.

Olamide Adeyeye, partnerships manager at The African Talent Company, believes that the new version is not sufficient enough because it does not address the old problem of the methodology.

Numeric factors should not be a major unemployment indicator because it is not enough to provide for social economic index, he said.

He recommended that the economic value of work engagement should be captured in the employment and unemployment matrix. Unemployment information is supposed to be a premise for interventions that improve human capital or for economic planning.

And due to this methodology change, it is difficult to assess the governments performance by comparing it to the previous years unemployment figures, he said.

A countrys unemployment data is a major macroeconomic indicator that measures the performance of the economy.

Africas most populous nation last released labour force statistics for the fourth quarter of 2020 in March 2021, with the unemployment rate rising to 33.3 percent, the highest on record.

Q4 report will cover data collected between October 19, 2022 and January 22, 2023.

Unlike the previous standards, the updated one provides broader measures of labour underutilisation, recognises all work, paid and unpaid, addresses gender bias in work statistics, facilitates integration of labour statistics with other topics and responds to emerging social and economic information needs.

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The aim of this reevaluation is to ensure that the design and methodology is in line with international best practice and locally relevant, according to the NBS.

According to the agency, some other African countries that have implemented the 19th ICLS are Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Benin, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cte dIvoire, Gambia, Guinea and Uganda.

The new methodology is a step in the right direction as it would capture the economic realities, thereby increasing revenue generation, Tochukwu Okafor, an Abujabased senior economic analyst, said.

When you capture a larger population, overtime you start expanding and expanding, gradually you will be able to get a figure that is close to the economic realities because right now, the 33.3 percent is not the economic reality, he said.

He added that some of those that are categorised as unemployed may have more than one job, and are not even taxed. And because of that, the Federal Internal Revenue Service is not able to capture them.

According to Ikemesit Effiong, head of research at SBM Intelligence, the NBS is watering down the unemployment data by including parttime gigs, contract staff, online vendors, social media influencers and other people running their businesses.

He said This is not good because accurately defining what full employment is and knowing what cohort of your economy fulfills that indicator is a prerequisite for sensible revenue planning and generation, resource allocation and service provision.

Many of the economic activities the NBS proposes to capture are stopgap in nature.


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