The Unemployment Crisis in Nigeria

In 2019, the Nigerian government said the unemployment rate would reach 33.5 per cent by 2020. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labor and Employment, said at the time that the incessant increase in the rate of unemployment in the country was alarming. According to him, the high unemployment rate shown in NBS reports at the time was alarming.

“It is a worrisome status as the global poverty capital (World Bank, 2018); and concomitant high prevalence rate of crimes and criminality, including mass murders, insurgency, militancy, armed robbery, kidnappings and drug abuse, among others,” he said.

Reports by the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to 27.1% in the second quarter of 2020. The new rate is an increase from 23.1% unemployed in the third quarter of 2018.

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According to estimates from the International Labour Organization, the estimated youth unemployment rate in Nigeria was at almost 14.2 percent in 2020. Nigeria’s youth remain the hardest hit by unemployment with over 13.9 million people aged between 15 and 34 years unemployed. Women are still bearing the brunch of bad economy with about 12.2 million out of jobs from the 27 million currently unemployed.

The World Bank predicts Nigeria’s flailing economy is set for its worst recession in four decades as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic continue to unravel. The country has been badly hit by the near-total shutdown of the global oil economy, considering its dependence on the commodity as its biggest revenue source.

Nigeria has a labour force of 80.2 million, it implies that about 21.7 million Nigerians are unemployed, a figure that exceeds the population of 35 of Africa’s 54 countries. Among young Nigerians aged between 25 and 34, the largest segment of the labour force, the unemployment rate currently stands even higher, at 30.7%.

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