Nigeria’s Q2 jobless rate steady at 4.2%, data shows mixed trend

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria’s unemployment rate stood at 4.2% in the April-June quarter, little changed from the previous quarter, showing a mixed trend of positive indicators and lingering challenges.

Unemployment in the second quarter marginally rose from 4.1% in the first quarter, according to data published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Thursday.

The jobless rate among young people aged 15-24 years rose to 7.2% from 6.9%. The unemployment rate in urban areas also edged up to 5.9% from 5.4%.

High unemployment has dogged Africa’s most populous country and biggest economy for decades as a rapid rise in population has outpaced economic growth amid poor infrastructure, holding back the distribution of wealth.

But under a revised system that redefined employment as at least one hour of work in seven days, the jobless rate has crashed from the record 33.3% in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Still, underemployment remains a persistent issue. Most workers, around 88%, were self-employed during the period in question, with only 12% in wage employment.

While the workforce participation rate remained high at 80.4%, the employment-to-population ratio was 77.1%, indicating a slight decline in the proportion of the working-age population engaged in productive activities during the second quarter.

The jobless rate among people with post-secondary education remained stable at 8%, while the informal employment rate, which measures the proportion of workers in the grey economy, was little changed at 92.7%.

(Reporting by Elisha Bala-Gbogbo; editing by Mark Heinrich)