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2022 Unemployment Statistics in Nigeria

Updated on Jul 05, 2022 16214 views
2022 Unemployment Statistics in Nigeria

Nigeria’s unemployment rate  for the second quarter of 2020 rose to a record-high 27.1% in the newly released figures by the National Bureau of Statistics.

That is, 21,764,614 Nigerians are presently unemployed. This figure includes those that have experienced job loss, and those that have recently joined the labor force (recent graduates and former housewives/stay home husbands). The increase from the third quarter of 2018 grew by 4% from 23.1.

The underemployment rate also witnessed a jump to 28.6%. This implies that 28% of the labor force works under 20 hours a week and is, advertently, underpaid. Added together, both the unemployment and underemployment rate are capped at an astounding 55.7%.

The rising unemployment rate is not unrelated to the COVID-19 pandemic that has impeded economic activities and the dwindling price of oil – the mainstay of the nation’s economy.

Interestingly, economically active or working age population (15 – 64 years of age) during the reference period of the survey, Q2, 2020 was 116,871,186. This is 1.2% higher than the Q3, 2018 figure which was 115,492,969.



  • The number of people in the labor force (that is, people aged 15 -64), those who are able and willing to work is 80,291,894. An 11.3% drop from Q3 2018.
  • There are 58,527,276 employed people. 35,585,274 of them were classified as full-time employed (i.e. worked 40+ hours per week).
  • The area of residence of Nigerians played a major role in the availability of jobs. The unemployment rate among rural dwellers was 28%, up from 23.9% in Q3, 2018, while urban dwellers reported a rate of 25.4%, up from 21.2%. In the case of underemployment among rural settlers, it rose to 31.5% from 22.8%, while the rate among urban dwellers rose to 23.2% from 13.7% in Q3, 2018
  • The age group with the highest unemployment rate isyoung people (15-34years). It was recorded as 34.9%, up from 29.7%, while the rate of underemployment for the same age group climbed to 28.2% from 25.7% in Q3, 2018.
  • A state-by-state breakdown was given, with Imo State recording the highest rate of unemployment with 48.7%, followed by Akwa-Ibom State and Rivers State with 45.2% and 43.7% respectively. Anambra state reported the least amount with 13.1% of the citizenry unemployed.
  • Likewise, for underemployment, the state which recorded the highest rate was Zamfara with 43.7%, whileAnambra State also recorded the lowest underemployment rate, with 17% in Q2, 2020.
  • The economically active or labor-force (people aged 15-64) numbered 1116,871,186 during the period of review.
  • In the bureau’s report for Q2, 2020, the unemployment rate among young people (15-34years) was 34.9%, a rise from 29.7% during the last survey. Also, the rate of underemployment for this same age group rose to 28.2% from 25.7% in Q3, 2018.
  • Interestingly, the lockdown in the country as a result of the coronavirus pandemic influenced the survey. A total number of 2,736,076 did not do any work in the last 7 days preceding the survey due to the lockdown but had secure jobs to return to after the lockdown.
  • Also, the educational distribution of Nigerians played a major role in their employability. 22.5 million of the 35.5 million in the labor forcedid not receive a tertiary education, while 6.29 millionnever attended school.
  • Senior Secondary School certificates are the most employed in the country, with an impressive 13.2 million gainfully employed.




The table below shows a five-year comparison of the unemployment rate in Africa’s most populous nation.






12.1 (Q1)

14.2 (Q1)

20.4 (Q1)


27.1 (Q1)

13.3 (Q2)

14.4 (Q2)

21.8 (Q2)



13.9 (Q3)

16.2 (Q3)

22.7 (Q3)




18.8 (Q4)

23.1 (Q4)




In comparison to the other 181 countries of the world with up-to-date labor data, Nigeria’s unemployment rate ranks as the 41st country with the highest unemployment rate.

Applying the International Labor Organization’s metric, Nigeria’s recent unemployment rate is 11.7. Also using this, Bosnia and Herzegovinian (34.3) has the highest unemployment rate in the world, closely followed by Namibia (33.4%) and Angola (32.0%). Conversely, the countries with the lowest unemployment rates are Qatar (0.1%), Niger (0.3%) and Laos (0.6%).

Understanding the unemployment statistics in Nigeria

#1: How many people are unemployed in Nigeria?

Currently, there are 21,764,614 unemployed people in Nigeria. For comparative purposes, the nation's population is over 200 million.

#2: What is the percentage of unemployed people?

The recently released information by the NBS caps Nigeria’s unemployment rate at 27.1%

#3: How many Nigerian youths are unemployed?

13.9 million, that is, 34.9% of Nigerian youths (aged 15-34) are presently unemployed.

#4: How many Nigerian graduates are unemployed?

About 2.9 million of Nigeria’s unemployed hold graduate and post graduate degrees from tertiary institutions.

#5: What is the difference from last year?

In year 2019, no survey was done. However, the last data collected for Q3 2018 showed a 23.1% unemployment rate. A 4.1% increase from them till now.

#6: Where does Nigeria rank in the world?

Out of 181 countries with adequate unemployment data, Nigeria ranks as the 41st highest.

#7: How does Nigeria plan to solve its unemployment problems?

As was recently discussed the Federal Government announced a planned creation of 774,000 jobs some to curtail the rising rate of unemployment.


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Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

2 Comment(s)

  • esther udotong
    esther udotong Feb 07, 2022

    Any sources for this data?


  • Eniola Oke
    Eniola Oke Nov 08, 2022

    Eniola OkeJust Now

    Thank you for this insightful statistics, Godbless you.

    I will like to seek your permission to use this data for a project, however, I don't know if the data sources can be verified.

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