Unemployment and inflation are on the rise in Nigeria, with about 1.8 million people joining the labour market, even as the Gross Domestic Product (GNP) inches upward in the third quarter of 2011, according to government’s top statistician Yomi Kale. “The unemployment rate…in the first half of 2011 increased to 23.9 per cent. This represents an increase of 1.8 million additional unemployed people between December 2010 and June 2011,” Kale told journalists in the capital city of Abuja.
The Statistician-General blamed the rise in the nation’s unemployment on the fresh entrants to the job market and worker layoffs across all sectors of the economy.
He said every employed Nigerian was economically responsible for three other citizens, and that the northern states of Yobe, Zamfara and Niger states stayed atop the ignoble list of states with highest unemployment rates.
Yobe, which recently came under terrorist attack, tops the chart with 60.6 per cent of its employable population being unemployed, followed by Zamfara with 42.6 per cent of the total employment population, and Niger with 39.7 per cent.
The private Guardian newspaper on Wednesday quoted the top statistician as saying states in the South-West has the lowest index. Osun came in with the lowest figure of three per cent unemployment; Kwara 7.1 per cent and Lagos 8.3 per cent.
The Statistician-General also said the inflationary trend is “slightly on the rise, adding: “The biggest contributors to the rise in consumer inflation in the preceding month were high cost of kerosene and diesel.”
Consumer inflation also rose to 10.5 per cent year-on-year in October, up from 10.3 per cent in the previous month.
On the performance of some sectors of the economy, Kale said the Hotels and Restaurants sector employed more than 73,000 people in 2010.
According to him, the total income attributable to foreign and domestic guests in the hotels in 2010 was 131.43 billion naira (US$1-155 naira).
The Statistician-General disclosed further that the building and construction sector engaged 76,611 in 2010, with an average monthly emolument of 35.201 billion naira.
Comparatively, the Statistician-General of the Federation said Nigeria had not done badly, despite the rise in inflation and unemployment.
“Nigeria has been able to climb up faster than most economies of the world despite not achieving double digits growth, as in the third quarter of the year. Only two countries – China and Estonia – out of 13 countries that have so far released their Q3, 2011 GDP, grew faster than Nigeria,” he said.