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88% of Nigerian workers self-employed – NBS


The National Bureau of Statistics has revealed that as of the second quarter of 2023, a mere 12% of the Nigerian workforce held wage employment, contrasting sharply with the 88% who are self-employed. 

This information comes from the ‘Nigeria Labour Force Statistics Report Q2 2023,’ released by the NBS.

“The unemployment rate for Q2 2023 was 4.2 per cent, this is a marginal increase from 4.1 per cent recorded in Q1 2023. Unemployment rate by sex among men was 3.5 per cent and among women was 5.9 per cent in Q2 2023. Disaggregation by location, the unemployment rate was 5.9 per cent in urban areas and 2.5 per cent in rural areas,” the report revealed

Highlighting the challenges faced by young people, the NBS reported a 7.2% unemployment rate for individuals aged 15-24 in Q2 2023. 

The NBS, aligning its data collection methodology with International Labour Organization guidelines, emphasized that a significant portion of Nigerians are involved in self-employment or agricultural activities.

The report categorizes employment into two broad groups: employees and the self-employed. Employees receive pay in the form of salaries or wages, while the self-employed encompass own-account workers, contributing family workers, and employers. 

Notably, 88.0% of employed Nigerians in Q2 2023 were primarily self-employed, leaving only 12.0% primarily engaged as employees.

 “In Q2 2023, 88.0 per cent of employed Nigerians were primarily self-employed with the remaining 12.0 per cent being primarily engaged as employees.

“Disaggregation by sex, 85.2 per cent of employed men were self-employed compared to 91.0 per cent of employed women. Disaggregation by location, 80.5 per cent of employed people in urban areas were self-employed compared with 95.3 per cent of employed people in rural areas,” the report furthered

The report acknowledged that the proportion of workers in wage employment for Q2 2023 was 12%, while informal employment in Nigeria is presently estimated at a staggering 92.7%.

The NBS has faced criticism for its altered employment calculation methodology. The Nigerian Labour Congress, through its National Secretary-General, Chris Onyeka, expressed skepticism, stating that the figures do not accurately reflect the increasing unemployment rate in the country.


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