By Odunewu Segun
The number of unemployed and underemployed persons in Nigeria has hit 22.45 million in the fourth quarter, Q4, 2015, and may climb higher as a result of the economic crisis facing the country.
This figure, according to the National Bureau of Statistics represents about 9.1 percent or 1.75 million, higher than 20.7 million recorded in the third quarter of 2015.
According to data obtained from the bureau, not only was the unemployment rate on the rise, but also a total number of 710,693 also lost their jobs with the same period.
In its employment report on Monday, NBS stated that the economically-active population or working age population (persons within ages 15 and 64) has increased to 105.02 million in Q4 2015, from 104.3 million in Q3 2015, representing a 0.68 percent increase over the previous quarter and a 3.2 percent increase, when compared to Q4 2014.
The report also said that in Q4 2015, the labour force population (those within the working age population willing, able and actively looking for work) increased to 76.96 million from 75.94 million in Q3 2015, representing an increase of 1.34 percent in the labour force, during the period.
This means 1.02 million persons in the economically-active population entered the labour force, and NBS stated that this increase was the highest quarterly jump in the labour force population in 2015.
In the report, the number of underemployed in the labour force (those working but doing menial jobs not commensurate with their qualifications or those not engaged in full time work and merely working for few hours) increased by 1.21 million or 9.16 per cent, resulting in an increase in the underemployment rate to 18.7 percent or 14.42 million persons in Q4 2015, from 17.4 percent or 13.2 million in Q3 2015.
During the same period, the number of unemployed in the labour force, increased by 518,102 persons, resulting in an increase in the national unemployment rate to 10.4 percent in Q4 2015 from 9.9 percent in Q3 same year.