Unemployment as a social ill is one factor that sure sets back the development of a country’s output. No country on the earth’s surface is void of this situation hut some are better managed than some and for the African populace, it is a menace especially in my country Nigeria.

According to Wikipedia, Unemployment is a situation where persons above a specified age are not being in paid employment or self-employment but currently available for work during the reference period. Unemployment is measured by the unemployment rate which is the number of people who are unemployed as a percentage of the labour force. Simply put, unemployment is when there are able and willing people to work but cannot find or create employment.

From my understanding, Unemployment has majorly only cons and no pros as it affects individuals socially, mentally, and psychologically but let it be known that unemployment is mostly misunderstood and has variants too but for clarity’s sake, unemployment does not cover individuals who have given up searching for work or those who are willfully out of jobs or those who have left jobs to further education. So basically, individuals who have actively not sought employment but are not employed cannot be tagged as unemployed.

There are majorly four types of unemployment namely:

  1. Demand Deficient Unemployment
  2. Frictional Unemployment
  3. Structural Unemployment
  4. Voluntary Unemployment

These various types of unemployment are caused by various reasons that come from both the demand side/employer and the supply side/the worker. Demand side reductions may be caused by high interest rates, global recession, and financial crisis. From the supply side, frictional unemployment and structural employment play a great role.

  • Frictional Unemployment refers to those workers who are in between jobs. An example is a worker who recently quit or was fired and is looking for a job in an economy that is not experiencing a recession. It is not an unhealthy thing because it is usually caused by workers trying to find a job that is most suitable to their skills.
  • Structural Unemployment happens when the skills set of a worker does not match the skills demanded by the jobs available or alternatively when workers are available but are unable to reach the geographical location of the jobs. A good example is a teaching job that requires relocation to the UK, but the worker cannot secure a work visa due to certain visa restrictions. It can also happen when there is a technological change in the organization such as workflow automation that displaces the need for human labour.

Due to the recent global pandemic, world unemployment rates rose significantly because many employers could not cope with paying wages due to a downturn in global demand for certain goods and services. Some institutions, organizations and companies thrived and made even more money while many closed down because they could not sustain, and we all saw the world move from an actual physical product service industry to most companies fully integrating online services to their platforms and services. This in turn brought about pay cuts, reshuffling and outright loss of jobs.

Nigeria was one of those countries that suffered the effects of the recent world Covid trends, and its economy saw a big reduction in GDP per capita which further drove the country deeper into the already going recession that started late 2019.

One of the major sources of unemployment in Nigeria is highlighted therein:

According to Dogrul and Soytas (2010), unemployment is an important macroeconomic problem due to its social and economic consequences and therefore essential for policy makers to identify the factors that affect it the most. The Agricultural sector as the leading provider of employment in Nigeria in the 60s and 70s, when the sector provided employment for more than 60 percent of the Nigerian population. However, in the wake of oil discovery, the attention on this anchor was gradually drawn away to the oil sector where employment capacity is exceptionally low.

Even with the expansion of the industry, unemployment has continued to grow at an alarming rate. According to the National Manpower Board (2009), the Nigerian labour market could barely absorb 10 percent of the over 3.8 million persons turned out by the Nigerian educational system on a yearly basis. In brief, the employment trends in Nigeria indicate that, without a concerted effort to tackle the problems of unemployment and underemployment, the situation could get worse because as of the end of the Covid lockdown in 2020, unemployment rate rose to 27.1 percent according to the National Bureau of Statistics and this is the highest the country has ever attained. Since the agricultural sector took a back seat, it has been struggling and irrespective of how much the government pumps into the sector, many people do not just want to venture into farming or are never equipped enough to handle large scale farming.

One major way of getting the unemployment rate low is to overhaul the entire agricultural sector. Work more on implementing and issuing grants that would help young farmers and introducing technological advancements to the sector like encouraging the use of mechanized farming and more modern techniques to increase output.

Another way to curb the increase in unemployment is to encourage capacity building and fund entrepreneurship schemes. Many capacity builders have risen out of Nigeria but most of their content is expensive for an unemployed individual to be able to partake in and most times these contents are not detailed enough. People should be encouraged and taught how to e job creators and not simply better job seekers.

One other good way of controlling the growth of unemployment is to change the school curriculum to involve more practical skill education which in turn will help build youths with an option of sticking to white collar jobs or moving down the entrepreneurial route. The National Youth Service Scheme is mostly just one year of teaching in schools and working admin jobs for most. What if it was a one-year entrepreneurship training program that you graduate from and earn a certificate which gives you the leverage to create jobs? Nigeria has focused more on contractionary fiscal policies than expansionary policies and every economic plan of a country is dependent on its revenue and expenditure. Expansionary policies work better hen taxes are reduced and more money is spent to boost the economy. If there is more money in circulation in forms of granting loans to small businesses and reducing lending rates, more organizations can thrive better which in turn increases employment and output therefore moving the economy forward.

Unemployment is a ticking bomb and needs to be addressed before it becomes a stronger menace in our society.

Comments will be appreciated.

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