Nigerians are yet to see significant results from government’s several employment generation efforts, as the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) estimated yesterday that only about 500,224 jobs were generated within the first half (H1) of 2014, a record lower than the 652,075 jobs reported for the corresponding period of 2013 and the 511,691 recorded in H2 2013.
The informal sector recorded the most jobs at 334,680, which represents 67 percent of the total.
The formal sector recorded 154,773 jobs (31 percent), while the public sector recorded 10,771 jobs (0.02 percent).
Between 1.2 million and 2.2 million Nigerians enter the labour force each year, representing an average of 1.6 million, Yemi Kale, statistician-general of the federation said on Monday, while announcing the latest job numbers.
Kale said about 240,871 jobs were generated in the economy in the first quarter (Q1) of 2014, a 10.3 percent decrease from 265,702 jobs in the previous quarter and 431,021 recorded in the corresponding period in 2013.
The formal sector recorded 76,018 new jobs in the first quarter, which was lower than the 101,597 in the previous quarter and 174,326 in the corresponding quarter of 2013.
But the informal sector which created 158,894 jobs and constitutes most of the jobs created in agriculture and Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSME) went up 9.8 percent, relative to the preceding quarter which was 143,278, but lower than the 232,272 jobs recorded in the corresponding period in 2013.
The public sector brought in 5,959 additional jobs to the economy within the quarter, Kale confirmed.
According to him also, 259,353 new jobs were created in the Q2 2014, a 7.1 increase from the 240,871 in the preceding quarter and also a rise from the 221,054 jobs generated in the corresponding period in 2013.
While the formal sector generated about 78,755 new jobs, the informal sector recorded 175,786, while the public sector recorded just 4,812 new jobs.
Formal jobs in Q2 2014 were however lower than the 80,412 jobs in the corresponding quarter in 2013 but higher than the 76,018 jobs created in Q1 2014.
Informal sector jobs went up by 9.6 percent from the 158,894 new jobs in the previous quarter and also higher than the 112,567 jobs in the corresponding quarter in 2013.
According to the NBS report, formal jobs refer to employment generated in establishments that employ 10 persons and above, or formal professional services that employ less than 10 persons. Informal jobs are those generated by individuals or businesses employing less that 10 or those businesses operating with little or no structures, e.g., those in agriculture, wholesale and retail trade. Public institutions, on the other hand, are government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) government parastatals, and academic and research institutions at federal, state and local government levels.
Looking at the formal sector, private education recorded the most jobs in Q1 and Q2 2014, creating 23,643 jobs and 29,060 jobs, respectively.
This was followed by the manufacturing sector with 11,088 jobs created in Q1 2014 and 11,138 jobs created in Q2. Within the manufacturing sector, the food, beverage and tobacco industry created the most jobs in both quarters, while motor vehicle and assembly industry recorded the least jobs created.
The biggest jump in sectors was seen in the water supply, sewage, waste management and remediation sector from 12 jobs in Q1 2014 to 9,487 jobs in Q2 2014.
Among unoccupied positions recorded, the food, beverage and tobacco sector had the most vacancies, followed by the education sector, and the wholesale and retail trade sector.
The top reason given by employers for hiring during the period under review, was business expansion purposes.
Meanwhile, the NBS announced yesterday that it was beginning the review of the statistical methodology for computing unemployment, setting up a committee to help work out better acceptable standards.
The review, analysts said, could see Nigeria’s unemployment levels drop significantly from the current 23.9 percent figure.
Kale said reviewing the methodology for computing unemployment rates in the country had become critical in order to align it with current realities and globally acceptable standards.
He said, for instance, that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards define employment as having to work for at least an hour a week, which is way lower than Nigeria’s, which even classifies between 1 and 39 hours as underemployment and above 40 hours as full employment.
He said it was for this reason that the Review of Unemployment Statistics Committee headed by Sarah Anyanwu, a professor at the University of Abuja, had been mandated to deliberate on the “current definition of unemployment as applied by the NBS and propose a most-suitable definition for the Nigerian environment, while still satisfying international best practices”.
The committee which is expected to submit its findings and recommendations to the NBS within three days for ratification comprised representatives from the academia, international development partners, media, Central Bank of Nigeria, National Planning Commission, National Directorate of Employment, Federal ministries of Finance, Agriculture and Labour and Productivity.
Others include representatives from the offices of the special adviser to the president on job creation, chief economic adviser to the president, amongst others.
Onyinye Nwachukwu, Abuja & Yinka Abraham