Nigeria: Factcheck - Are 63% Young Nigerians Jobless or Underemployed?

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27 October 2020

A Twitter user, Ian Bremmer, claims that 63 percent of Nigerians under 30 are jobless or underemployed.

VERDICT: Partly true. The claim that 63 percent of Nigerians under 30 are either jobless or underemployed is partly true. Nigeria's Labour Force Statistics for the second quarter of 2020 shows that 34.9 percent of Nigerians aged 15 to 34 years are jobless while 28.2 percent of Nigerians within the same age bracket are underemployed. This means that 63.1 percent of Nigerians within the same age bracket are either jobless or underemployed. However, not all of them are under 30.

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Ian Bremmer, using his handle, @ianbremmer, claimed that 63% of Nigerians under 30 are jobless or underemployed.

Bremmer added that the high rate of joblessness and underemployment in Nigeria helps to "explain why social unrest there right now is out of control."

Profile of youth unemployment, underemployment

A report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that joblessness in Nigeria surged to 27.1 percent in the second quarter of 2020.

Bloomberg reported that it was the highest in at least a decade.

The 27.2 percent compares with 23.1 percent in the third quarter of 2018, which was the last period the agency released labor-force statistics.

"For years the population growth rate in Nigeria has outpaced economic output, making it the country with the highest number of poor in the world. With a fertility rate of five children per woman, Nigeria is expected to be the third most populous country in the world by 2050 with over 300 million people, according to the United Nations," Bloomberg reported.

The research team of Nairametrics reported that 21.7 million Nigerians remain unemployed at the end of the second quarter of 2020.

"The data also reveals the worst-hit are Nigerian youths with over 13.9 million currently unemployed," the team reported.

However, the Nigerian government believes that there are still employment opportunities in the labour force, despite the huge unemployment and underemployment rates.

For instance, the Director-General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Sir Joseph Ari, recently said that in spite of Nigeria's high unemployment rate, about 925 technical and Information Communication and Technology (ICT) jobs have been difficult to fill.

Ari said a major challenge for the government has been the dearth of Nigerians with requisite skills even after the National Skills Gap Assessment (NSGA) has created openings in six priority sectors of the economy, according to a study conducted by the ITF in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).

He stressed that the survey and others conducted by several organisations attributed the shortfall to a mismatch between labour supply and requirements of the job market.

However, how true is the claim that 63 percent of Nigerians under 30 are jobless or underemployed?

Verification

Nigeria's Labour Force Statistics for the second quarter of 2020 published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that at the end of the second quarter of 2020, the unemployment rate among young people (15- 34years) was 34.9 percent, up from 29.7 percent.

The NBS is Nigeria's apex statistical agency.

The latest Labour Force Statistics also revealed that the rate of underemployment for the same age group rose to 28.2 percent from 25.7 percent in the third quarter of 2018.

"These rates were the highest when compared to other age groupings," NBS stated.

Analysis of the data showed that the summation of the 34.9 percent unemployment rate and the 28.2 percent underemployment rate results in 63.1 percent unemployment and underemployment rate.

However, the 63.1 percent joblessness and underemployment rate does not cover only young people under 30 years.

Conclusion

The claim that 63 percent of Nigerians under 30 are either jobless or underemployed is partly true. Nigeria's Labour Force Statistics for the second quarter of 2020 shows that 34.9 percent of Nigerians aged 15 to 34 years are jobless while 28.2 percent of Nigerians within the same age bracket are underemployed. This means that 63.1 percent of Nigerians within the same age bracket are either jobless or underemployed. However, not all of them are under 30.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with Daily Trust to facilitate the ethos of "truth" in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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