Nigeria’s unemployment rate as at the end of 2020 stood at 33.3%, a 6.2% point increase compared to 27.1% recorded as at Q2 2020.


Nigeria’s unemployment rate as of the end of 2020 rose to 33.3% from 27.1% recorded as of Q2 2020, indicating that about 23,187,389 (23.2 million) Nigerians remain unemployed.

This is according to the recently released labour force report published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Under-employment rate in the reference period however dropped from 28.6% recorded as at the second quarter 2020 to 22.8% in Q4 2020.

  • Using the international measurement, Nigeria’s unemployment rate stood at 17.5% while by the old metrics, it stands at 56.1%.
  • A total of 30.57 million individuals were fully employed as at Q4 2020, i.e work 40 hours and above, while 15.9 million of Nigeria’s population work between 20 and 39 hours.
  • Also, 11.03 million individuals work between 1 and 19 hours (unemployed) while 12.16 million were without work in the period under review.

The report shows that the estimated number of persons in the economically active or working-age population (15 – 64 years of age) during the reference period of the survey, Q4, 2020 was 122,049,400.

A combination of both the unemployment and underemployment rate for the reference period gave a figure of 56.1%. This means that 33.3% of the labour force in Nigeria or 23,187,389 persons either did nothing or worked for less than 20 hours a week, making them unemployed by our definition in Nigeria.

The increase in the unemployment rate figures can be attributed to the after-effect of the covid-19 induced lockdown which caused my organisations to reduce their work force as a means to cope amidst the pandemic.

Although businesses have resumed operations, they are yet to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels, indicating that some of these laid-off workers are still without work and 1.42 million others joined the group of unemployed in Q4 2020

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