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Unemployment: What to know about new labour survey methodology adopted by NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently announced that it is using a new methodology for Nigeria’s labour force survey, which aggregates the number of…

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently announced that it is using a new methodology for Nigeria’s labour force survey, which aggregates the number of employed and unemployed persons in the country.

According to the Statistician General of the Federation, Semiu Adeyemi Adeniran, the update is to bring to international standard, the Nigerian Living Standard Survey (NLSS).

Adeniran said with all eyes on the bureau to produce accurate data that is of set standards and guidelines, it decided to adopt a new methodology that would be more relevant to present realities and reflective of the evolving societies.

“Following guidelines adopted during the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) in Geneva in 2013, the aim of this re-evaluation was two-pronged. On one hand was to ensure that the methodology is in line with international best practice and locally relevant, and on the other hand, to ensure that a production process was robust enough to produce estimates on a sustainable basis (avoiding periodic gaps), and also, produce more labour market indicators and analysis that will inform government about the employment and job situation in Nigeria,” he said.

13th ICLS used to conduct last survey

The last published labour survey in Nigeria was conducted using the 13th ICLS, which was birthed and adopted in 1982 at the International Conference of Labour Statisticians.

The report, which gave the basis on how labour surveys are to be conducted, restricted those to be surveyed and the time.

As such, the report is faulty as it does not provide some indices to accurately provide information on how households use their labour resources and on the subsequent impact on livelihoods and on well-being.

Major changes expected

The new methodology is expected to reduce Nigeria’s unemployment figure which was last conducted in 2020 and pegged those that were unemployed to be 33 percent of the population.

Other changes expected is that it will increase the age basket of those that are considered to be among the labour force.

The old method defined those that are in the labour force to be from 15-64 years old but the new adopted one views it to be 15 and above that are willing, available, and able when the survey is conducted.

Also, those that would be categorized as unemployed would have worked at least one hour from the previous seven days the survey would be conducted which is a departure of the 20 hours the old method carried.

Similarly, the underemployment would be tagged for those who work on to 39 hours a week, and are willing to accept more hours of work which was formerly between 20 and 39 hours within the reference period of a week.

The methodology would also introduce volunteering work as part of the survey but this does not translate to those engaging in it to be labelled employed.

Similarly, the sample size of respondents would be increased to 35,520 households nationwide using newly demarcated Enumeration Areas spread across 12 months, which is against the sample of 33,300 nationwide.

While those who engage in subsistence were included in the old methodology, the category would be removed and be surveyed differently.

The new method would adopt a continuous data collection throughout the year which is against the quarterly collection of data that was done before.

This Fact Check is produced in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)


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