To the World Bank, unemployment refers to the share of the labour force that is without work but is available and seeking employment. At the same time, the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) described an unemployed person as part of the labour force but does not work for up to 40 hours per week within the reference week (the preceding week before measurement). This is closely related to underemployment, which refers to any individual who works for only 20-29 hours per week within the reference week in Nigeria.
Generally, as at the fourth quarter of 2020, report from NBS shows that 33.3 percent of Nigeria labour force were unemployed while 22.8 percent were underemployed. According to Statista, unemployment rate in Nigeria which stood at 32.5 percent in 2021 would increase slightly to 33 percent again in 2022.
For the same 2022, Nigeria has a 49 percent employment rate while unemployment rate has been projected to reach 37 percent. In contrast, Trading Economics estimated a 32 percent rate for the fourth quarter 2022 and a decrease to 30 percent by 2023. Considering all these, at any given time from the fourth quarter of 2020 to 2023, there is an estimated 20 million unemployed Nigerians. Hence, the situation has not significantly improved.
Looking at youth unemployment in Nigeria, the NBS unemployment report shows that in 2020 (Q4), 42.5 percent of young Nigerians (age 15-34) were unemployed. About 2 in 10 (21%) of these young Nigerians were underemployed. Only 36.5 percent of labour force population were fully employed within reference period. This is line with a trend that has seen the rate increase since 2015 which is call for serious concerns. Although, the rate of unemployment for young Nigerians (age 25-24) was forecasted to stand at 53 percent by 2022 and expected to drop to 51 percent by 2023, the situation would only be slightly better as an estimated 5 million youth still be unemployed.
Despite successive administrations’ initiation and implementation of several policies, reforms, and frameworks towards overcoming the challenges of unemployment, poverty, and national development in Nigeria, the result has been far from encouraging due to a lack of technical framework, administrative commitment, and continuity. However, for this situation to change for the better, the government must deploy sustained policy action and appropriate strategies.
In this regard, YMonitor examined how well the Nigerian Youth Employment Action Plan (NIYEAP) – for the period of 2021 to 2024 – can make a significant impact on youth employability and employment, as the government aims to use it to address the unemployment crisis by focusing efforts on some priority areas with high potential for the creation of decent jobs for teeming Nigerian youth.
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