Report: NBS/World Bank study to reveal ‘sharp drop’ in Nigeria’s unemployment rate

A World Bank/National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) study using recent International Labour Organisation (ILO) guidelines for computing labour force statistics is set to reveal a sharp drop in Nigeria’s unemployment rate, according to TheCable report.

As at the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2020, the NBS said the country’s unemployment rate stood at 33.3 percent.

According to the report, sources familiar with the development revealed that the new methodology was designed to reduce errors, increase efficiency in the data collection process and improve data credibility.

The methodology is also aimed at updating the nation’s labour force statistics in line with international best practices.

Some of the new parameters, the report noted, include the calculation of the numbers of employed persons who work at least one hour for pay or make a profit during the period under the review, as against the former yardstick that included only those who work for 20 hours a day.

The report further stated that “those engaged in farming for personal use only, otherwise known as subsistence agriculture will no longer be considered as part of the employed population.

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“Statistics for such persons will now be produced separately as subsistence agriculture will now be recognised as own-use production of goods and services.”

The sources further disclosed that that data collection will now last for a 12-month period in contrast to the old methodology where data collection was done each quarter.

They said the approach will allow for capturing seasonal changes which affect the labour market which will in turn enhance data quality and credibility.

“The continuous data collection approach will enable quarterly and annual publication of the Labour Force Survey report,” the sources told the publication.

“The quarterly report will only report national estimates of a few major indicators like the unemployment rate, employment, underemployment rate, and persons in subsistence agriculture, disaggregated by sex.”

Quoting the sources, the publication said an annual report with the complete labour force survey data, representing the labour statistics for the year, with all possible indicators covered by the survey, would be published.

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They added that national and state estimates of the indicators would be published at the end of the year.
“This means that Labour force statistics will now be produced every quarter, without fail,” the sources said.

“It also means that we will have access to reliable and up-to-date information on interrelated labour force indicators like working time in employment, subsistence farming, and others.”

Furthermore, the working age population is said to now be those aged 15 and above, as opposed to the previous methodology which capped the working age at 64 years.

Also, a new ILO-modelled questionnaire was said to have been adopted for the survey, leading to a big change to enable the collection of more comprehensive data on various indicators using the definitions recommended at the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) in 2013.

According to the report, the new standard for labour market indicators in Nigeria would paint a more comprehensive picture of the country’s labour market.

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