Does Nigeria Have A Combined Unemployment Rate Of 55%?

Claim 1: A presidential aspirant for 2023 general elections has claimed that Nigeria has a combined unemployment rate (unemployment and under-employment) of 55 percent. 

Claim 2: He also claimed that 60% of Nigeria youths are unemployed (unemployment and under-employment combined)

Verdict: FALSE. Data shows that these figures, when combined, are above the numbers stated by the aspirant.


One of the presidential aspirants for Nigeria’s 2023 general election, Peter Obi, claimed on his Twitter handle, @peterobi, that the combined unemployment and underemployment rate of Nigeria is 55 percent and 60 percent for the youths.

Obi gave this statistics to commemorate the May 1st Worker’s Day Celebration. 

He said, “In commemoration of #WorkersDay, I urge the Nigerian government to aggressively support micro, small and medium enterprises, which are the engine of job creation, so that they can effectively contribute to reducing the unemployment rate, as is the case in other nations.

“No country grows economically with a 35 percent unemployment rate, which, when combined with under-employment, will be 55 per cent. That’s a figure of 60 percent of unemployed Nigerians being youths—the greatest asset of any nation.

“I congratulate all Nigerian workers on their celebration of Workers Day while encouraging the need to uphold the beautiful virtues of diligence and hard work.”

What Data Says

According to Nigeria Bureau OF Statistics , Nigeria’s unemployment rate as at the fourth quarter of 2020 is 33.3 percent while the underemployment is 22.8 percent. When combined together, it is a total of 51.6 percent.

Also, NBS puts the number of unemployed youths at 42.5 percent and an underemployment rate of 21.0 percent. When combined it is a total of 63.5 percent. 

This implies that, when combined, Nigeria has an unemployment rate of 51.6% while a youth unemployment rate of 63.5%.

Other Projections

While this data, according to the NBS, seems to be obsolete as no new data on unemployment rate has been published by the bureau since 2020 Q4, there have been other projections by international agencies who monitor the economic growth of Nigeria. 

Trading Economics said that the Nigeria Unemployment Rate is projected to trend around 40.00 percent in 2023 and 44.00 percent in 2024, according to our econometric models.

Also, August and Co., has also projected that the country’s unemployment has grown to 35 percent in 2021; higher than the NBS projection in Q4 2020. 


While it is not invalied to claim that the data by these organizations are wrong; Nigeria has always relied on its own data figures to determine its economic growth.

Recall that the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and others, have projected in 2021 that Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product rate would fall by the end of the year. After data was released by the NBS, the GDP surpassed all projections.

Until the official data has been released by the bureau, Nigeria still considers 33.3 percent as its official unemployment rate. 

Kehinde Ogunyale

Reporting on the data-driven economy, and investigations.

Related post