The working age population of Nigerians stood at 101.77 million as at fourth quarter 2014 (Q4, 2014) of which 72.9 million were fully employed or underemployed translating into a labour force participation rate of 71.7 per cent.
This rate was lower than what was reported in the preceding quarter and the corresponding quarter of 2013 by 20 and 180 basis points, respectively according to the joint research report by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
However the national employment rate in Q4 2014 stood at 93.6 per cent, showing increases of 330 and 170 basis points above the preceding quarter and the corresponding quarter a year earlier, respectively.
While time related underemployment rose to 17.9 per cent from the level as at end 2013, full time employment fell to 75.7 per cent from the 79.9 per cent achieved. Over the corresponding quarter in 2013 the number of (time related) underemployed Nigerians increased by 4.5 million persons to 13.1 million persons.
The trend of underemployment rate indicates that the Nigerian labour market has been generally dominated with under-employment situation much more than the outright unemployment phenomenon as the magnitudes of the underemployed outstripped the unemployed since 2010, the report stated.
The report also stated that the problem of unemployment is more prevalent amongst the 15-24 and 25-34 age groups which in Q4 2014 registered unemployment rates of 11.7 and 6.9 per cent respectively. These rates are higher than the national rate of 6.4 per cent recorded in the quarter.
NBS defines persons in employment in the reference period as all labour force members that work for pay/wages in the formal sector; and those members that work for at least 20 hours in the informal sector.
However, the underemployed are employed people who work part time (usually worked for at least 20, but less than 40 hours), and are willing and available to work more hours than they usually do. In contrast, the unemployed comprise all those in the labour force that are not in employment during the specific reference period.
The trend of underemployment rate indicates that the Nigerian labour market has been generally dominated with under-employment situation much more than the outright unemployment phenomenon as the magnitudes of the underemployed outstripped the unemployed since 2010.
This aptly captured observations that Nigerians generally engaged themselves in one form of income generating activity or the other in the absence of full employment.