*The National Bureau of Statistics defines the unemployed as “all those in the labour force that are not in employment during the specific reference period” and underemployment as “people who work part-time (usually worked for at least 20, but less than 40 hours), and are willing and available to work more hours than they usually do”
Unemployment in Nigeria remains severe; it affects the average man, deepens inequality and fosters social tensions. Worse still, it leaves Nigerian youths disillusioned.
We look at four charts that show which regions are most affected by unemployment.
1. Unemployment Rates by Geopolitical Zone
The South-East and South-South are conspicuously behind.
Unemployment Rate by Geopolitical Zone – Nigeria’s national unemployment rate is 18.8% which means that nearly 1 in 5 aspiring workers do not have formal jobs. The unemployment problem varies by regions. While the South-West looks to be the hotbed of job creation, other parts of Southern Nigeria are lagging behind. The South-East and South-South have the highest unemployment rates by far, and it is hard to dissociate this reality from the perpetual state of political and social unrest. We have previously discussed how poverty has fed the Niger Delta problem, and it is clear that these regions have drawn shorter economic straws – despite (or, because of?) sizeable natural resources. The regional discrepancy suggests that a single national approach to job creation would be incomplete. Governments may need to work together to develop proper regional economic plans to ensure that regional inequality in Nigeria does not continue to grow.
2. Worst Six Performing States in Underemployment & Unemployment
Job-seekers in many Nigerian states have to struggle
Worst Six States for Unemployment and Underemployment – Nigeria has a combined unemployment and underemployment rate of 40%, meaning that 2 in 5 members of the labour force are either out of a job or working too few hours to be counted as fully employed. Some states have it particularly bad – in Jigawa and Rivers, 3 in 5 members of the labour force are either unemployed or underemployed. To put it another way, for every 10 aspiring workers in Rivers, just 4 are fully employed.
3. Top Six Performing States in Employment Rates
The top-performing states are doing quite well.
Top Six States for Employment – Despite Nigeria’s unemployment problem, some states are still doing pretty well. Zamfara and Gome top the list, although this may have more to do with how the NBS measures underemployment. Less surprisingly, states in the South-West dominate, with Lagos having a 77% employment rate despite boasting a potential workforce of over 7 million people, nearly a tenth of Nigeria's entire labour force.
4. Nigeria's Labour Force and Unemployment Contribution by Geopolitical Zone
The South-West is overachieving given its size
Contribution to Labour Force and Unemployment – The idea here is to figure out how many workers each region contributes to Nigeria’s labour force and assess how much it contributes to Nigeria’s unemployed workers. For example, the North-East contributes just 11% to Nigeria's entire labour force but contributes this same quota (11%) to Nigeria’s unemployed and underemployed workers. In other words, the North-East is neither overachieving nor underachieving for its size. Meanwhile, the South-West is responsible for 24% of Nigeria's labour force but just 17% of its unemployed and underemployed workers – a testament to the appeal of the region. In contrast, the South-South accounts for 18% (second-highest region) of Nigeria's labour force but contributes much more (23%) to the number of unemployed and underemployed in the country. If these figures sound small or similar, consider that they translate into hundreds of thousands of workers.
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