This paper examines the impact of key macroeconomic variables on unemployment in Nigeria between 1981 and 2012. It also analysed Youth and Women Unemployment in Nigeria (YouWiN): An Eclectic and Methodological Approach of Lagos State. It is pertinent that there exist positive relationship between respondents who strongly agree to Personal and Sociopolitical Skills are required for Employment and those that agree, undecided, and disagree. It however show a negative relationship between respondents who strongly agree to Personal and Sociopolitical Skills are required for Employment and those that strongly disagree. In addition, the trends indicated that expected counts in the various LCDAs outweigh the count, and % within personal and social skill required for employment. Also, and % within personal and social skill required for employment in the various LCDAs outweighs the counts and expected counts. It pertinent that the counts, expected counts and % within personal and social skill required for employment in the LCDAs in Lagos Island does not outweigh that of Lagos mainland. This indicates a high incidence of unemployment in the mainland and requires the government to look in to these empirical findings Furthermore, it was seen in the OLS regression that there exist positive relationship between unemployment rate and inflation, GDP, lending interest rate, exchange rate, population growth and negative related to energy production, agriculture as a percentage of GDP, gross capital formation, and price of crude oil. It was also seen in the Error Correction Model that there exist positive relationship between unemployment rate and inflation rate, GDP, lending interest rate, exchange rate, gross capital formation while negatively related to energy production, agriculture as a percentage of GDP, population growth, and price of crude oil. From the result stipulated that ECM was negative and the strong significance of the ECM was an indication and confirmation of the existence of a long run equilibrium relationship between unemployment rate and all the exogenous variables.
1.1 Background of the Paper
Unemployment is one of the greatest challenges of Sub-Saharan African economies today which has mitigated economic development through constant rising trend over decades. The Nigerian economy since the attainment of political independence in 1960 has undergone fundamental structural changes resulting to structural shifts which have however not resulted in any significant sustainable economic growth and development to ensure adequate employment opportunity for her youths. Recently, available data show that the Nigerian economy grew relatively in the greater parts of the 1970s, with respect to the oil boom of the 1970s whose extreme profits resulted to wasteful expenditures in the public sector leading to dislocation of the employment factors and also distorted the revenue bases for policy planning. This among many other crises resulted in the introduction of the structural adjustment programme (SAP) in 1986 and the recent economic reforms. The core objective of the economic structural reform is a total restructuring of the Nigerian economy in the face of population explosion (Douglason et al, 2006).
However, these economic and financial structural reforms put in place did not yield significant results, hence in recent past; there has been an alarming increase in the rate of youth unemployment and its attendant social and economic problems. Unemployment is one of the developmental problems that face every developing economy (Patterson et al, 2006), and Nigeria is not exempted. Its impact has been felt more by the youths. Nigerian youths from all corners of the country rush to Lagos state in search of white-collar jobs, especially, the graduates. This is because of the believe that Lagos state, being the former Federal Capital State and centre of excellence has more (job) opportunities than other states, necessitating the scuttle to Lagos for greener pastures. This rush has led to the profligacy of the rate of unemployment in the state.
This is not to say that unemployment is absent in the other states of the federation or even less, hence the general observations from many researchers on Nigerian unemployment such as Alanana (2003), Echebiri (2005) and Awogbenle and Iwuamadi (2010), Okafor (2011). In their research endeavors, they have brought to the fore that youth unemployment across the world has reached a great height and is likely to climb further. Okafor (2011) documented that in Sub-Sahara Africa, youth population was estimated at 138 million people in 2002-2003, with 28.9 million, or 21 percent of them unemployed (ILO, 2004). It has also been reported that youth unemployment in Africa has a geographical dimension as it is generally higher in the urban areas than in rural ones such as Lagos state and several factors have bee adduced to account for higher youth unemployment rate in Africa, most notably low economic growth, low economic activity and low investment. These related factors contribute to low job creation and because of sustained (increased in some cases) population growth the small labour market is unable to absorb the resulting army of job seekers in Nigeria.
He further buttressed that for most developing countries like Nigeria, Governments and policy makers are increasingly finding it difficult to grapple successfully with youth unemployment. This high rate of unemployment can be blamed on the lack of adequate provision for job creation in the development plans, the ever expanding educational growth and the desperate desire on the part of youths to acquire University education irrespective of course and course contents. As a result, a number of skills acquired from the University appear dysfunctional and irrelevant (Okafor, 2011).
In Nigeria, the federal government in 2008 acknowledged that about 80 percent of Nigeria’s youth are unemployed and 10 percent underemployed (Daily Trust, 2008). In 2011, the Minister of Youth Development, Bolaji Abdullahi reported that 42.2 per cent of Nigeria’s youth population is out of job. Depo Oyedokun, the Chair of the House Committee on Youth and Social Development revealed that of the over 40 million unemployed youths in the country, 23 million are unemployable and therefore susceptible to crime, hence the need to articulate what could be done to salvage the situation. The pace is increasing because most graduates lack relevant marketable skills.
More than half of the Nigerian populations are under the age of 30 (National Population Commission, 2001). Therefore it can be asserted that the economy of Nigeria is a youth economy (Oviawe, 2010). Expectedly, today’s youth will become in a short decade tomorrow’s parents, leaders, labour force and armies. However, the Nigerian youths are said to be confronted with poverty, unemployment, urbanization, lack of capacity and skills needed to move the economy forward. This is because the youth faces unemployment and lack of necessary productive skills to keep body and soul together.
Statistically, Okafor (2011) cited a national survey jointly sponsored by NUC and the Education Trust Fund (ETF) in 2004 sought to determine the labour market needs; revealed that 44 percent of the 20 organizations rated Nigerian science graduates as average in competence, 56 percent rated them as average in innovation, 50 percent rated them average in rational judgment, 63 percent as average in leadership skills and 44 percent as average in creativity. On needed skills like literacy, oral communication, information technology, entrepreneurship, analytical, problem solving and decision making, 60 percent rated them as poor. By any standard, the above statistics reflect a poor assessment of Nigerian university graduates and further buttress the argument that
Nigerian university graduates are unemployable (Okafor, 2011). Resultantly, the lack of employment potential makes crime a more attractive option for some Nigerian university graduates. This is because in Nigeria it is common to find some graduates still roaming the streets, five years after graduating in search of jobs that are not thereby lending force to crimes such as armed robbery, car snatching, pipeline vandalization, oil bunkering, and prostitution among the youths.
This situation poses great challenges to the very existence of individuals in Nigeria thereby calling for the training of men and women who can function effectively in the society in which they live in. Available information by National Universities Commission (NUC) (2004) reiterated that the massive unemployment of Nigerian universities graduates in the country is traceable to the disequilibrium between labour market requirements and lack of essential employable skills by the graduates (Diejonah and Orimolade, 1991; Dabalen et al, 2000). This critical skill gaps inhibits the development of youths and the entire development of the nation, as more than half of the Nigerian populations are under the age of 30. This is dependent on the fact that Nigeria’s population is predominantly youth.
Consequently, post colonial realities have revealed the changing roles and positions of women in different countries of the world. The emergence of modern society has brought change in many ramifications of human life. The experience of women generally is not an exception. One may not be fair to assert that the place and dignity of women is now placed on the same pedestal with their male counterpart, but women improvement strategy is gaining grounds worldwide (Adebayo 2001).
Studies reveal changes in the number, roles and status of women in the formal sector. In the traditional Nigeria society, as well as in other parts of the world, women engaged in many economic activities which include; weaving, dying, small-scale farming, food processing, handicrafts and trading (Oderinde, 2002).They were activities that could be accommodated to the domestic roles of women, since their primary role were perceived to lie in the home (Adebayo, 2001).
Until recently, sex division of labour has been an integral aspect of life in Nigerian family. Men were the main bread winners, while women were saddled with domestic responsibilities; an important component of the domestic responsibilities of women is caring for family members (Adepoju and Mbugwa, 1997). They maintained that men as bread winners could work away from home, if women would work at all; they were engaged in activities that could be carried out within or around the home. Women were encouraged to concentrate on household chores and the socialization and monitoring of young children. Basically women are traditionally saddled with the duty of inculcating values and norms into children.
This division of labour in the family in terms of gender roles has virtually disappeared in the country. Women educational attainment in Nigeria has soared over the years; consequently gender inequality in formal employment has drastically declined in the country (Wusu and Abanihe, 2007). The economic hardship prevailing in the country is gradually making it a norm for women to make substantial contribution to household budget in order to cater adequately for family needs. Thus women are increasingly taking up roles that were traditionally the domain of men. Nevertheless, female dominated responsibilities in the family such as household chores, socialization of children and childbearing are rarely shared by men. In other words, while women are taking up formally male roles, it is likely that men find it derogatory to share roles that were traditionally recognized as female domain (Munguti et al, (2002).
By extension, it is expected of women to play multiple roles in the society. Obviously, since women are the significant agent of household chores, socialization and childbearing and have to still carry out their economic roles as formal employees, it becomes difficult and over bearing in most cases. It is against this backdrop that this paper examines the economic status of the family, reasons for women engagement in formal employment and the effects on the family.
Therefore, youth development and women empowerment have been recognized as vital stages in life for building the human capital that allows young people to avoid poverty and live better, and possibly have a more fulfilling life. The human capital formed in youths and women are thus an important determinant of long term growth that a nation can invest and rely on. Hence, making sure that youths and women are well prepared for their future is enormously important to the course of poverty reduction and growth. This is because millions of the young people face bleak employment opportunities and investigating the viability of engaging such devastative and catastrophic situation with youth and women empowerment is the thrust of this paper with special emphasis on Lagos state, hence the objectives of the study- to find out if unemployment in Nigeria is as real as it sounds in the literature or whether it is an exaggeration; to examine the relationship between youth development and youth and women unemployment to see if youth development and empowerment as a panacea to unemployment in Nigeria and to examine youth and women development programmes in Lagos with the view to finding out if they have what it takes to reduce youth unemployment in Nigeria and in Lagos state.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Today, there are graduates of fifteen years standing that roam the streets of Lagos State in search of white-collar jobs that do not exist after many years of democracy thus, a vast unemployment in Lagos State causing urban poverty and social injustice. Irrespective of Federal Government budget to curb the scourge, unemployment is still on the increase. It can seen that unemployment increases on daily basis even when in the year 2000, the Federal Government budgeted N10 billion and N20 billion in 2001 to deal with unemployment. However, The launching out of programmes by the State and Federal Governments on small scale business enterprises was to mitigate unemployment yet abortive.
In Nigeria, unemployment situation has become critical and labour absorption impossibilities. One of the serious socio-economic problems currently confronting Lagos State is recognized as issue of increased unemployment. Moreover, statistics showed that Lagos State, compared to other states of Nigeria has the largest segment of youths and women unemployment. In absolute terms, it is estimated that there are presently about 5.5 million youths and women unemployed in Lagos State. The Government on the other hand decided to alleviate this problem by embarking on self-employment schemes as one of the measures to solve the problems. The high rates of ‘open’ and ‘disguised’ unemployment in Lagos State represent a serious waste of human resources, the explanation for poverty traps, high level of income inequality, and slow growth of gross domestic product (GDP) which become a problem that requires thorough examination (Akharumere, 2015).
However, in spite of government effort to mitigate the problems of unemployment in Lagos State, unemployment still persist because not all unemployed could be deployed in the government self employment schemes provided (Falae, 1971).
1.3 Aim and Objectives
The aim of the paper is to examine the impact of youths and women unemployment in Nigeria (YouWiN): An Eclectic and Methodological Approach of Lagos State. However, the specific objectives are:
- To assess the nexus between the determinants of skill acquired by graduates and the requirements of the labour market in the 57 L.C.D.As of Lagos State;
- To examine the extent of the gender disparity policy for graduate output in Nigeria;
- To determine the in-depth incidence of unemployment rate to other key macroeconomic variables in Nigeria.
Sequels to the specific objectives of this paper, the following are the null hypotheses:
- There is no significant relationship between strongly agree and other determinants of skill acquired by graduates and the requirement of the labour market;
- There is no significant relationship between female and male graduate output in Nigeria;
- There is no significant relationship between unemployment rate and other key macroeconomic variables in Nigeria.