The latest Unemployment and Underemployment Watch report published by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, at the weekend showed that youths between the ages of 15 and 24 had 17.8 per cent of their population out of employment as the third quarter of this year while those in the ages between 25 and 34 also had 10.8 per cent of their population in the labour market.
The NBS reported that when compared with the previous quarters of the year, the Q3 rates represented an increasing trend.
The Bureau stated that while the rate of unemployment among the population of the first age bracket of 15-24 years in the first quarter stood at 13.7 per cent, it surged to 14.9 per cent in Q2, before peaking at 17.8 per cent in the last quarter.
The same trend was also recorded in those within 25-34 years as the rates rose from 8.2 per cent in Q1 to 8.9 per cent in the succeeding quarter before rising to 10.8 per cent at the end of September.
On the underemployment rate, the NBS disclosed however underemployment rate for those within the ages 15-24 declined slightly to 31.8 per cent in Q3 from 33.8 per cent in Q2 and 30.6 percent in Q1 2015 NBS clarified: “For those in the labour force within the ages of 25-34 however, unemployment rose to 10.8 per cent in Q3 2015 from 8.9 per cent in Q2 2015 and 8.2 per cent in Q1 2015, while underemployment stood at 18.5 per cent in Q3 from 19.5 per cent in Q2 and 17.7 per cent in Q1 2015.
“Accordingly, 49.6 per cent of Nigerians in the labour force (not entire population) aged 15-24 were either unemployed or underemployed in Q3 2015 compared to 48.7 per cent in Q2 and 44.3 per cent in Q1 2015, while another 29.3 per cent aged 25-34 were either unemployed or underemployed in Q3 2015 compared to 28.4 per cent and 25.9 per cent in Q2 and Q1 2015 respectively”, it added.
Expatiating further, the agency reported that out of a total youth labour force of 36,380,320, representing 48 per cent of total labour force in Nigeria of 75.9 million, a total of 13,658,065 of them were neither unemployed or underemployed in Q3 2015.
It explained that a youth may not be working but may not be unemployed and that a youth not working will only be termed unemployed if he is willing and able to work and actively looking for work within the review period.
Making a distinction between being employment or to be underemployed, the Bureau stated that “you are unemployed if you do nothing at all and underemployed if you still manage to do something for some money for at least 20 hours a week but is menial and not fully engaging relative to your skills, time and qualifications”.
It also noted that the methodology adopted for the survey did not make value judgments about the quality of work or suitability or sufficiency of income earned in line with international methodology, adding that sufficiency of income or suitability or quality of jobs is statistically and technically covered under other living standard indicators like poverty.
On the gender classification of the Unemployment and Underemployment rate, the Burea disclosed that unemployment and underemployment was higher for women than men in Q3 2015, noting that while 11 per cent of women in the labour force, that is those between 15-65 willing, able and actively working or searching for work, were unemployed in the quarter, another 20.4 per cent of them were underemployed in Q3 2015.
However, it found out that on the other hand, 8.3 per cent of males were unemployed in the quarter under review, while another 14.6 per cent of males in the labour force were underemployed.
Elaborating on the Urban and Rural Unemployment and Underemployment rates, the NBS noted that while underemployment continued to be more of a rural phenomenon, with 21.0 per cent rural underemployment compared to 9.0 per cent urban underemployment, given the nature of their jobs largely as seasonal farmers, unemployment is more of a concern in urban areas, amounting to 12.1 per cent of urban unemployment compared to 9.0 per cent rural unemployment.
Omolara Adegoke- Abuja
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