The , on Thursday, May 14, officially revealed the revised methodology for computing labour statistics in the country, resetting the unemployment rate at 6.4 per cent as at fourth quarter of 2014.
Using the old method of calculation, the country’s unemployment rate would have been 24.3 per cent. However, the underemployment rate in the same period was put at 17.9 per cent.
The new unemployment statistics, like the recent rebasing of the GDP is unlikely to make any tangible alteration to the critical unemployment situation in the country.
In the NBS revised methodology, perfected by the “Review of Unemployment Statistics Committee” headed by Sarah Anyanwu of the University of Abuja, an individual who works for 20 hours and above in the reference week is considered to be fully employed as opposed to the International Labour Organization (ILO’s) standard of 40 hours.
On the other hand, an individual is regarded as unemployed if he or she did nothing or worked less than 20 hours in the reference week while working for between 20 to 39 hours in the reference week renders an individual as underemployed.
The Statistician General of the Federation, Yemi Kale, who at the unveiling in Abuja, said the NBS has statutory powers by the Statistics Act to unilaterally determine appropriate statistical methodologies for the country.
He said: “The decision to amend our national definition of unemployment however, given how important a challenge it is to our country is not something we take lightly at the NBS.”
Kale said ILO’s definition of unemployment had inherent shortcomings that could render it unfit for the Nigerian economy.
Furthermore, the new NBS unemployment computation significantly altered exiting jobless rates putting it at 5.1 per cent against 21.4 percent adopting the old regime and ILO’s 1.9 per cent in 2010.