Only 12 per cent of workers in Nigeria were in wage employment as of the end of the second quarter of 2023, the National Bureau of Statistics has disclosed.
This is because 88 per cent of workers in the country are self-employed. This was contained in a report titled, ‘Nigeria Labour Force Statistics Report Q2 2023 which was released on Thursday by the NBS.
Total unemployment in the period stood at 4.2 per cent as of Q2, 2023. The statistics body defined unemployment rate as the share of the labour force (the combination of unemployed and employed people) who are not employed but who are actively searching and are available for work.
It said, “The unemployment rate for Q2 2023 was 4.2 per cent, this is a marginal increase from 4.1 per cent recorded in Q1 2023. Unemployment rate by sex among men was 3.5 per cent and among women was 5.9 per cent in Q2 2023. Disaggregation by location, the unemployment rate was 5.9 per cent in urban areas and 2.5 per cent in rural areas.”
Focusing on young people, the unemployment rate for 15-24-year-olds was 7.2 per cent in Q2 2023, the NBS highlighted. The NBS said it enhanced its methodology of collecting labour market data through the Nigeria Labour Force Survey in line with International Labour Organisation guidelines and unemployment rate revealed that most Nigerians operate their own businesses or engage in farming activities.
The national statistics body noted that employment comprises two broad categories; employees and the self-employed. It explained that people working for pay in the form of salaries and wages in cash or in-kind, including paid apprentices, are referred to as employees while own-account workers, contributing family workers, and employers are referred to as self-employed.
Commenting on this category, it said, “In Q2 2023, 88.0 per cent of employed Nigerians were primarily self-employed with the remaining 12.0 per cent being primarily engaged as employees.
Disaggregation by sex, 85.2 per cent of employed men were self-employed compared to 91.0 per cent of employed women. Disaggregation by location, 80.5 per cent of employed people in urban areas were self-employed compared with 95.3 per cent of employed people in rural areas.”
It added, “The proportion of workers in Wage Employment in Q2 2023 was 12 per cent.” Informal employment in Nigeria is currently pegged at 92.7 per cent.
The NBS has come under criticism since it changed its employment calculation methodology. When it released its ‘4.1 per cent’ unemployment figure for Q1, 2023, the Nigerian Labour Congress, through its National Secretary-General, stated that the figures were not reflective of the current realities in the country.
The national secretary, Chris Onyeka, told The PUNCH, “The statistic is not reliable. It is as simple as that. It is not in sync with what is on the ground. We all know that the rate of unemployment in Nigeria is increasing.”