NBS says 3.3 million Nigerians suffered job losses in 9 months

President Buhari believes employment figures reflect mostly white collar jobs.

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari
  • 33 million Nigeria become unemployed in the last 9 months
  • According to the report, unemployment rate increased from 18.8% in Q3 2017 to 23.1% in Q3, 2018.
  • Presidency not comfortable with unemployment figures.

About 3.3 million Nigerians became unemployed between December 2017 and September 2018, deteriorating to 20.9 million, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows.

The National Bureau of Statistics stated this in its Labour Force Statistics, released on Wednesday, December 19, 2018. 

The Labour Force report, for the Q4 2017 to Q3 2018 released on Wednesday, December 19, 2018, says the number of unemployed Nigerians rose from 17.6 million To 20.9 million. 


According to the report, the unemployment rate accordingly, increased from 18.8% in Q3 2017 to 23.1% in Q3, 2018.

The total number of people classified as unemployed, which means they did nothing at all or worked few hours (under 20 hours a week) to be classified as employed increased from 17.6 million in Q4 2017 to 20.9 million in Q3 2018.

“Of the 20.9 million persons classified as unemployed as at Q3 2018 11.1 million did some form of work but for too few hours a week (under 20 hours) to be officially classified as employed while 9.7 million did absolutely nothing.

“Of the 9.7 million unemployed that did absolutely nothing as at Q3 2018, 90.1% of them or 8.77 million were reported to be unemployed and doing nothing because they were first-time job seekers and have never worked before. On the other hand, 9.9 million 0r 0.9% of the 9.7 million that were unemployed and doing nothing at all reported they were unemployed and did nothing at all because they were previously employed but lost their jobs at some point in the past which is why they were unemployed.


“Of the 9.7 million that were unemployed and did nothing at all, 35.0% or 3.4 million have been unemployed and did nothing at all for less than a year, 17.2% or 1.6 million for a year, 15.7% or 1.5 million had been unemployed and did nothing for 2 years, and the remaining 32.1% or 3.1 million unemployed persons had been unemployed doing nothing for 3 and above years,” the report states.

Presidency not comfortable with the figures

The Presidency on Monday, December 17, 2018, said President Muhammadu Buhari had created millions of jobs in the agriculture sectors and not captured by the National Bureau of Statistics. 

Garba Shehu, Buhari's senior media aide, said, “the president had complained many times about the employment figures reflecting mostly white collar jobs and therefore unfairly underplaying the millions of jobs his administration has created in the farms must have felt a sense of vindication.”


The response by the government was, go and put this out, address a world press conference to correct the wrong impression for all to know how well we are doing in creating jobs. We hope there will soon be a date for that press conference,” Shehu tweeted confirming his statement on a television programme, Channels TV Sunrise Daily. 

Yemi Kale, statistician general, however, dismissed his claims, saying all report covered all sector of the economy including rural and urban areas as well as age groups.

It is common for African leaders to criticise reports that did not favour their governments. Most of them will look away rather than using it to improve governance and make better economic decisions.

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