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Unemployment: The unsettling data from NBS

The report by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS)) that Nigeria’s unemployment crisis worsened in the first quarter of 2016, though not surprising, has reinforced the need for all hands to be on deck to tackle the crisis.

According to the report released on Friday, the country’s unemployment rate grew from 10.4 percent in the last quarter in 2015 to 12.1 percent.

In the third and fourth quarter of 2015, about the same number of people become unemployed in Nigeria.

“In Q1 2016, the labour force population (i.e. those within the working age population willing, able and actively looking for work) increased to 78.4 million from 76.9million in Q4 2015”.

“This means an additional 1,528,647 economically active persons within 15-64 entered the labour force i.e. were able and willing and actively looking for work between January 1 and March 31 2016.

“Within the same period, the total number in full time employment (did any form of work for at least 40 hours) decreased by 528,148 persons or 0.97%.

“This consists of people who lost their jobs and were either forced or for various reasons chose to move from full time employment to underemployment.

“Within the same period, the number of unemployed in the labour force, increased by 1, 449, 18 persons (increase of 518,000 between Q3 and Q4 2015) between Q4 2015 and Q1 2016.”

“Youth unemployment also rose to 42.24 percent, as 15.2 million youths remain unemployed in the economy.

“Accordingly, out of a total youth labour force of 38.2 million (representing 48.7% of total labour force in Nigeria of 78.48mn), a total of 15.2mn of them were either unemployed or underemployed in Q1 2016 representing a youth unemployment rate of 42.24%, the NBS said.

The report is enough to worry every Nigerian but much more the Federal Government whose responsibility it is to create enabling environment for the economy to thrive. With a conducive economic environment, businesses (large and small) will be in much better position to expand their capacities as well as employ more persons.

Additionally, the Federal Government among others should avoid policies that may end up shrinking the economy further for the nation to witness a reduction in the number of unemployed persons.

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