More than 23 million Nigerians are jobless, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Monday.

The Bureau said unemployment rate in the country rose to 33.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of last year (Q4 2020) from 27.1 per cent in Q2 of the same year.According to the NBS Report released yesterday, 122,049,400 persons, aged between 15 and 64 (working age population) were economically-active during the period under review (Q4 2020).

The figure is 4.3 per cent higher than the 116,871,186 – the figure recorded in Q2.

By implication, the number of persons in the labour force (people within 15 – 64 age bracket of those able and willing to work) was estimated to be 69,675,468.

It was 13.22 per cent less than the number persons in Q2, 2020. Of the number, those within the age bracket of 25-34 were highest, with 20,091,695 or 28.8 per cent of the labour force.

The total number of people in employment (i.e., people with jobs) during the reference period was 46,488,079. Of this number, 30,572,440 were full-time employed (i.e., worked 40+ hours per week), while 15,915,639 were under-employed (i.e., working between 20-29 hours per week).

This figure is 20.6 per cent less than the people in employment in Q2, the NBS survey said.

The NBS report said: “In line with its statutory mandate to provide government and policymakers with reliable and timely information, the National Bureau of Statistics routinely computes and disseminates the labour force statistics.

“These statistics presented in this report are generated from a nationwide socio-economic survey, which sampled thirty-three thousand three hundred households across the country, both in urban and rural areas.

“Under this exercise, indicators such as the economically active population, labour force, unemployment and underemployment rates were computed to inform the work of policymakers and government.

“The last unemployment survey conducted was in the 2nd quarter of 2020, which produced an unemployment rate of 27.1% and an underemployment rate of 28.6%.

“Following the success of the Telephone-based Abridged Labour Force Survey (LFS) under Covid-19, Quarter 2 (Q2) 2020, preparations continued to ensure the continuity of the production of this important economic indicator to provide much needed information on the level of employment and unemployment in the country.

“Following the lifting of movement restrictions by government in the q4 2020, in line with set COVID-19 guidelines and protocols for interactions, the NBS conducted this round of the survey using the usual face-to-face interview for data collection.”

It said the unemployment rate rate among rural dwellers was 34.5 per cent, up from 28.2 per cent in Q2, 2020, while urban dwellers reported a rate of 31.3 per cent up from 26.4 per cent.

The survey said: “In the case of underemployment among rural dwellers, it declined to 26.9% from 31.5 per%, while the rate among urban dwellers decreased to 16.2% from 23.2% in Q2, 2020.

“For the period under review, Q4, 2020, the unemployment rate among young people (15-34 years) was 42.5% up from 34.9%, while the rate of underemployment for the same age group declined to 21.0% from 28.2% in Q2, 2020. These rates were the highest when compared to other age groupings.

“Under state disaggregation, Imo reported the highest rate of unemployment with 56.6%, this was followed Adamawa and Cross River States with 54.9% and 53.7% respectively. The state with the lowest rate was Osun in the Southwest with 11.7%.

For underemployment, the state which recorded the highest rate was Benue with 43.5%, while Lagos State recorded the lowest underemployment rate, with 4.5% in Q4, 2020.

“A total number of 12,160,178 did not do any work in the last seven days preceding the survey.”