Unemployment is one of the major issues affecting Nigeria’s economy and its society. The rate of unemployment has increased over the last few years due to the fallout from the economic challenges. Out of a total active labour force of 85.08 million people in Nigeria, about 16 million people were unemployed in the third quarter of 2017. This was contained in a report on Labour Force Statistics in the third quarter of 2017 published on the National Bureau of Statistics’ (NBS) website.
The report said the category of unemployed persons comprised 8.5 million people “who engaged in an economic activity for at least an hour” and 7.5 million people “who did absolutely nothing.” Also, 18.02 million people were underemployed, as they worked for 20 to 39 hours a week, which is less than the 40 hours required to be classified among the workforce. Unemployment is not just a matter of facts and figures. Individual dramas are the result, for this plague strikes people—men, women, and youths of every social class. And, since stable, meaningful work contributes greatly to feelings of personal worth, imagine the devastating effect of unemployment on those who are disabled, unskilled, or older in years.
According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), an unemployed person is one who is without work, is prepared to work, and is actively looking for work. But what about a person who does not have a permanent full-time job or one who manages to work just a few hours a week? Part-time work is considered differently from one country to another. In certain nations some who in reality are unemployed are officially counted as employed. Ill-defined situations between employment and unemployment make it difficult to determine who really is unemployed, and for this reason statistics describe only part of the reality. Psychologists find that among today’s unemployed, psychiatric and psychological problems are increasing, as well as emotional instability, frustration, progressive apathy, and loss of self-respect. When a person with children to care for loses a job, it is a terrible personal tragedy. The world has collapsed around them. Security has evaporated. Today, in fact, some experts note the emergence of an “anticipatory anxiety” related to the possibility of losing one’s job. This anxiety can seriously affect family relations and can have even more tragic results, as recent suicides of unemployed persons may indicate. Furthermore, the difficulty of breaking into the labor market is among the probable causes of violence and social alienation of young people.