Economic and Financial Review


Central Bank of Nigeria


Unemployment, Nigeria


Much as unemployment is dreaded in all market economies, the problems associated with its measurement in Nigeria are sometimes not addressed, if ever appreciated. To facilitate international comparison, uniform measurement methods have considerably narrowed down the difference in the concept of unemployment. Nevertheless, unemployment index seems to disguise the extent of the problem in Nigeria. Unless the desire to work for a wage is explicitly expressed, it is difficult to identify the unemployed. In other words, if the job-seeker is regarded as someone actively seeking wage employment, the concept of unemployment becomes less relevant in the context of a developing economy characterised by structural deficiencies. Available statistics from the labour registries are inadequate e~en for measuring the number of persons seeking wage employment, how much more the substantial unemployment/underemployment which exists outside the organised sector. Although this shortcoming is being overcome by the results of labour force sample surveys, the coverage remains, however, limited. Thrown into focus, therefore, is the urgent need to broaden the base and integrate the sources of labour statistics with a view to determining not only the amount of idle human resources but also the extent oflabour underutilisation. It is only when these problems are well articulated that prescribed solutions can be enduring.

Author Bio

Ajani, H.A. is an Assistant Director of Research in the Central Bank of Nigeria

Okonta, H.N. is a Senior Economist in the Central Bank of Nigeria

Publication Title

CBN Economic and Financial Review





Recommended Citation

Ajani, H. A. & Okonta, H. N. (1986). Problems of Measuring Unemployment in Nigeria. CBN Economic and Financial Review. 24(2), 46-51.



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