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Unemployment Rate: Economist faults NBS’ revised methodology

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An economist, Prof. Uche Uwaleke has faulted the methodology adopted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in rating the unemployment status of the country.

The NBS on Friday, released a statement saying it had adopted a new global best method for checking unemployment, which it claimed reduced Nigeria’s unemployment to 4.1 percent in the first quarter of 2023.

Recall that the Bureau had pegged the country’s unemployment rate at 33.3 percent in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020.

Uwaleke, who is the Director, Institute of Capital Market Studies, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday, in Lagos, that the figure may not be the true reflection of the unemployment status of the country.

He said that the methodology could also lead to wrong policy decisions by the government.

Uwaleke said, “I think the unemployment number of 4.1 percent for quarter one in 2023, recently announced by the NBS, may not reflect the true situation on ground, owing to a number of reasons.

“The first reason is the low sample size of under 40,000 persons used in the survey, as well as the adoption of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) guidelines for employment computation.

“This considers employment from the perspective of persons of working age who are engaged in some type of jobs for at least one hour in a week for pay or profit compared to the old methodology adopted by the NBS.

“This new methodology which includes apprentices, amounts to significantly lowering the bar and could lead to wrong policy decisions by the government.”

The expert said, much as the ILO guidelines provided a basis for global comparison, it was important that Nigeria adopted country-specific guidelines, which closely reflects the unique employment conditions prevalent in the country.

Recall that the NBS revealed the new unemployment rate in a report it released on Thursday, titled, ‘Nigeria Labour Force Statistics Report Q4 2022 and Q1 2023″.

The report claimed that unemployment stood at 5.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022 and 4.1 percent in the first quarter of 2023.

It said the outcome aligned with the rates in other developing countries where there is work, even if only for a few hours and in low-productivity jobs.

”It is to make ends meet, particularly in the absence of any social protection for the unemployed.

”Also, 22.3 percent of the working age population were out of the labour force in the fourth quarter of 2022, while it was 20.1 per cent in the first quarter, 2023.

”The rate of informal employment among employed Nigerians was 93.5 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2022 and 92.6 per cent in the first quarter 2023”, the report indicated.

Unemployment Rate: Economist faults NBS’ revised methodology

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