…Rate higher in rural area than urban area – NBS
Nigeria’s unemployment rate increased to 23.9 percent in 2011 compared with 21.1 percent in 2010 and 19.7 percent in 2009, reveals the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The “Nigerian unemployment report 2011” prepared by the NBS shows that the rate is higher in the rural areas (25.6 percent) than in the urban areas (17.1 percent).
The result of the survey shows that persons aged 0 to14 years constituted 39.6 percent, those aged between 15 and 64 (the economically active population), constituted 56.3 percent, while those aged 65 years and above constituted 4.2 percent.
Before now, not a few economic watchers have queried the recorded Gross Domestic Product, GDP, growth rates in Nigeria, which over time are contrary to the growing rate of unemployment.
For instance, GDP report for third-quarter of last year showed that the Nigerian economy, when measured by the real GDP on an aggregate basis, grew by 7.40 percent in the third-quarter of 2011 as against 7.86 percent in the corresponding quarter of 2010.
Amid this high rate of unemployment, the economic watchers have noticed that there is an increasing trend of disinterest by the emerging younger generation in highly labour-intensive works such as agriculture and factory work in preference for white collar jobs, resulting in many preferring to remain in the labour market rather than take up such jobs.
According to the NBS, “in computing the unemployment rate, the total population is divided into labour force (currently active) and non-labour force (not currently active).”
The labour force population covers persons aged 15 to 64 years. The definition of unemployment therefore covers persons (aged 15-64) who during the reference period were currently available for work, seeking for work but were without work.
“A person is regarded as employed if he/she is engaged in the production of goods and services, thereby contributing to the gross domestic product, in a legitimate manner, which is a component of the national accounts. The category of persons considered not-in-labour-force include those without work, who are not seeking for work and/or are not available for work as well as those below or above the working age,” the report states.
Examples of these are full-time housewives, under-aged children, physically challenged and incapacitated persons, and such others not employable. “There is no standard definition of unemployment as various countries adopt definitions to suit their local priorities. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition, however, covers persons (aged 15–64) who during the reference period (usually the week proceeding the survey period for at least one hour), were currently available for work, seeking for work, but were unable to find work,” the report states.
Considering the disinterest by the emerging younger generation in highly labour-intensive work, it is conceivable that the unemployment rate may have been a lot worse, without many of the employment generating polices of government that have helped to curtail the rise compared with other countries in the world where rates have risen faster than Nigeria.
Analysis of employment data for the past five years shows that the rate of new entrants into the labour market has not been uniform. The rate was on the increase from 2007 to 2009, but declined significantly from 2009 to 2010, and increased again from 2010 to 2011. “Within the five-year period, there has been an average of about 1.8 million new entrants into the active labour market per year.”
Global Developments Unemployment has been a major problem for most countries across the world. The USA for example has increased from 5 percent in 2007 to 9 percent so far in 2011. Spain increased from 8.6 percent to 21.52 percent; UK from 5.3 percent to 8.1 percent. Ireland currently stands at 14.3 percent from 4.8 percent, Latvia from 5.4 percent to 16.5 percent, Greece from 8.07 percent to 18.4 percent, and Italy from 6.7 percent to 8.3 percent.
The average for the Euro area is 10.7 percent. Even within the African continent, unemployment has risen with South Africa, Africa’s largest economy having a higher rate than Nigeria at 25 percent, Angola at 25 percent, Botswana at 17.5 percent, Egypt at 11.8 percent, Kenya at 11.7 percent, and Namibia at 51 percent.