The total number of unemployed Nigerians has jumped from 17.6 million to 20.9 million in just nine months, according to new data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

According to the data published on Wednesday, December 19, 2018, the total number of people who did nothing at all or worked under 20 hours a week increased by 3.3 million between Q4 2017 and Q3 2018.

NBS noted that the unemployment rate increased from 18.8% in Q3 2017 to 23.1% in Q3, 2018.

Of the 20.9 million classified as unemployed by the NBS as at Q3 2018, 11.1 million did some form of work but for under 20 hours, falling short of the employment classification.

Of the 9.7 million that did 'absolutely nothing', 8.77 million were reported to be unemployed and doing nothing because they were first time job seekers and have never worked before.

The total youth unemployment rate for Q3 2018 stands at 29.7%
The total youth unemployment rate for Q3 2018 stands at 29.7%

The remaining number of people were previously employed but lost their jobs at some point in the past which is why they were unemployed.

The summary of the report noted that the number of economically active or working age population (15-64 years of age) in the country increased from 111.1 million in Q3 2017 to 115.5 million in Q3 2018.

Even though the number of people in the labour force (i.e. people who are able and willing to work) increased from 85.1 million in Q3 2017 to 90.5 million in Q3 2018, the total number of people in employment (i.e with jobs) only increased from 69.09 million to 69.54 million in the same period.

The NBS explained in its report that a rise in the unemployment rate is not entirely equivalent to an increase in job losses.

"A rise in unemployment generally means the number of people searching for jobs has increased, which can occur because: people previously outside the labor force (e.g students, housewives etc) have decided to join the labour force and are now in search of jobs; or people previously working have lost their jobs and are now in search of jobs," the NBS noted.