Earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) published its long-awaited quarterly unemployment and underemployment report for Q4-17 to Q3-18. According to the report, the unemployment rate in Nigeria jumped from 18.8% in Q3-17 to 23.1% in Q3-18. This is as the total number of people classified as unemployed in Q3-18 spiked by 30.8% y/y, faster than growth in the size of the total labor force which was up 6.3% y/y to 90.5mn.
Notably, despite the worsening state of unemployment, Misery Index (inflation rate + unemployment rate)improved 0.5% from 34.8% in Q3-17 to 34.3% in Q3-18, thanks to the inflation rate which moderated from 16.0% in Q1-17 to 11.2% in Q3-18. If underemployment is factored in, the misery index would be 54.4% as at Q3-18 from 56.0% in Q3-17.
We reiterate the need to prioritize job creation beyond aggregate GDP growth as a measure of economic welfare and overall improvement in the economy. In terms of outlook, we believe a potential implementation of the N30,000 national minimum wage poses further risk to job growth in Nigeria, especially if structural issues are left unfixed.