The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) recently published its quarterly unemployment and underemployment report, showing the unemployment rate in Nigeria rose by 18.8% to 34 million people in Q3-17 compared to 16.2% in Q2-17. The report noted that while the economic recession was technically over in Q2-17, several economic activities are still contracting or recovering suboptimally.
Like Nigeria, South Africa also emerged from recession in Q2-17 but unemployment remained high at 27.7% in Q3-17, the highest in 13 years. This further backs the NBS claim that an economic recession is consistent with an increase in unemployment as jobs are lost and new jobs creation is stalled. From 32.6% in Q4-16, the data above indicates that the Misery Index (inflation rate + unemployment rate) has worsened to 34.8% amid heightened price level and increasing unemployment rate.
If underemployment is factored in, misery index would be 56.0% as at Q3-17 from 52.7% in Q1-17. Thus, despite a mild recovery in the economy, economic misery has worsened as welfare level deteriorates amid elevated food prices, increased demand for jobs, as well as downsizing in the labor market. More importantly, this reiterates the need to prioritize job creation beyond aggregate GDP growth as a measure of economic welfare and overall improvement in the economy.
United Capital Plc Research (UCR)