Nigeria's unemployment rate rose to 33.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 (Q4 2020) compared to 27.1 per cent in Q2, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
This implies that 23.18 million of the country's labour force either did nothing or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed by the country's definition of unemployment.
It also meant that there was an additional 1.42 million people added to the country's unemployment portfolio when compared to 21.77 million unemployed persons in Q2.
The total number of people with jobs stood at 46.48 million out of which 30.57 million were full-time employed (worked 40+ hours per week), while 15.91 million were underemployed (working between 20-29 hours per week).
However, the NBS stated that the underemployment rate decreased from 28.6 per cent to 22.8 per cent in the period under review.
According to the 'Labour Force Statistics: Unemployment and Underemployment Report (Q4 2020),' which was released by the statistical agency, a combination of both unemployment and underemployment rates stood at 56.1 per cent for the reference period.
The NBS, however, said using the international definition, Nigeria's unemployment rate stood at 17.5 per cent.
The number of persons in the economically active or working-age population (15-64 years of age) in Q4 stood at 122,049,400 or 4.3 per cent higher than the 116.87 million recorded in Q2.
The labour force, or people within ages 15-64, who are able and willing to work) stood at about 69.67 million, or 13.22 per cent lower than the 80.29 million recorded in Q2.
The unemployment rate among rural dwellers increased to about 34.5 per cent, from 28.2 per cent in Q2 while urban dwellers reported a rate of 31.3 per cent compared to 26.4 per cent.
The NBS stated that underemployment among rural dwellers declined to 26.9 per cent from 31.5 per cent, while the rate among urban dwellers decreased to 16.2 per cent from 23.2 per cent in Q2.
It said the unemployment rate among young people (15 to 34 years) increased to 42.5 per cent from 34.9 per cent, while the rate of underemployment for the same age group declined to 21.0 per cent from 28.2 per cent in Q2.
The agency, however, explained that a rise in the unemployment rate is not entirely equivalent to an increase in job losses.
It said rather, an increase in unemployment could occur as a result of several reasons, of which a job loss is just one.