Youth Unemployment And National Development In Nigeria




Unemployment is an issue that has plagued the Nigerian economy for a long time and has generated a lot of research in the country. Nevertheless, it is one of the pivotal social epidemics confronting Nigeria due to its unending rise. This menace causes frustration, dejection and high levels of dependence on family, friends and government.

Unemployment can be referred to as a symptom of macroeconomic illness which could either be “voluntary” or “involuntary”. Voluntary in the sense that an individual or group of persons chooses not to work because they have a means of support other than employment for instance an idle rich man. While involuntary when an individual or group of persons are willing to work at the prevailing rate of pay but unable to find work. In general, unemployment exists when a fit and eligible individual does not have a job or work to do for some compensation.

According to Doreo Partners (2013), unemployment rate in Nigeria is growing at the rate of 16% per year with the youths being impacted the most and accounting for three times the general unemployment level. Youth unemployment have significantly contributed to the dramatic rise in social unrest and crime such as Niger Delta militancy, Boko Haram and the Jos crisis. One implication of the above is that in the long run most of the youths today will be parents in their mid-life years, and with little or no adequate skills in a fast emerging competitive global economy, it is doubtful how they can propel the needed wheel of development.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (2012), the Rate of Unemployment in Nigeria increased to 23.90% in 2011 from 21.10% in 2010. Nigeria’s Unemployment Rate averaged 14.60% from 2006 until 2011, reaching an all-time high of 23.90% in December of 2011 and a record low of 5.30% in December of 2006 with this increase in the rate of unemployment at 23.90% remaining constant in 2014 with the population at 166.21 million. With this situation, unemployment has remained one of the most persistent and unmanageable problems facing Nigeria.

Nigeria has one of the highest levels of youth unemployment in the world as over 60 to 65% of its youths are unemployed (Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity Report, 2008). The Federal government recently acknowledged that about 80% of Nigeria’s youth are unemployed. According to the National Bureau of statistics (2010), the national unemployment rates for Nigeria between 2000 and 2009 showed that unemployed persons constituted 31.1%, 13.6% in 2001, 12.6% in 2002, 13.4% in 2004, 13.7% in 2006, 14.9% in 2008, and 19.7% in 2009. With respect to age group, education and sex, the data showed that persons aged between 15 and 24 years had 41.6% rate of unemployed. For persons between 25 and 44 years, 17% were unemployed. For persons with primary education 14.8% were unemployed while those with post secondary education had 21.3% unemployed. As regards sex, data showed that males constituted 17% of the unemployed while females constituted 23.3 percent (Salami, 2013).

Although the youths are not the only employable group in the demographic structure, the importance of youth unemployment cannot be over-emphasized. As the Vision 20: 20/20 Economic Blueprint Report made the observation that of the 6 million Nigerians graduating annually from the educational system, only about 10% are often employed, thereby leaving about 4.5 million to enter the labour market annually (a combination of the unemployed, low-wage employed and those socially excluded), from the teeming population of about 140 million people. With the minister for Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi declaring that, 67 million youths are unemployed and 80% of that number not possessing a university degree (Chukwuma, 2013).

In Nigeria, it is expected that for a positive change to emanate, both individuals and government at all levels should join hands to build a nation where everyone is resourceful and useful. But what then is the assurance that large armies of unemployed youths will not engage in activities that would undermine the stability of democracy in Nigeria? As every year thousands of graduates turnout for whom there are no jobs. Nigerian streets are littered with youth hawkers and bike riders who ordinarily would have found gained employment in some enterprises; or would have demonstrated their skills and resourcefulness if there were to be enabling environments and reliable management structures on ground. Instead, the youths have now shifted their attention to cybercrime, militancy, violent crimes, kidnapping, restiveness, political instability, armed robbery, insurgency and so on as the list is endless and these social evils unveil themselves as the menace of unemployment is not tackled.

Various economic and social analysts have attributed the problem of youth unemployment to a poor educational system, over dependence on the oil sector, bad leadership, political thuggery, lack of vocational guidance, over population, the under optimisation of the agricultural sector with a consequent mass movement of able bodied youths from the rural to urban areas in search of the none existent white collar jobs and so on.

Unemployment in its entirety is a serious problem for the Nigerian economy. Not only is it a severe personal blow to those concerned, but it is also an economic waste. Perhaps the main cause of unemployment is a personal one to those who are unemployed especially the youths. However, if they suffer then the whole economy suffers.

It is against this backdrop that this study is set out to investigate and unveil facts about youth unemployment, its impact and development implications on Nigeria’s economy.


Unemployment has been on the increase in Nigeria for quite some decades now. The problem of unemployment in Nigeria is one which has lingered for so long and Nigeria is yet to find a lasting solution to this problem. Nigeria as a country is characterised by high rate of youth unemployment; a situation where university graduates roam around the streets in search of jobs which are not forthcoming. Even where it is available, the graduates barely have the qualification for the job as the employers ridiculously will insist they must have had some years of experience before they can be employed (Alanana, 2003).

This situation has been attributed to general lack of skill by the youth as many have not acquired the requisite skills to secure jobs in the formal sector, the high population growth rate in the country producing a large army of labour which is mostly unskilled. More so, many youths are willing to do business and improve their standard of living but blame their short handedness to inadequate capital and or lack of capital.

Also, business tycoons and entrepreneurs have come clear on the issue of unemployment in Nigeria, claiming that jobs are not the problem but that our youths are not just employable (Okojie, 2013). Due to this problem, youths take up jobs for which they are ill suited which leads to low productivity hence underemployment though the Nigerian government claims to be trying all it can in tackling this problem by putting some policies in place, the continual increase in the unemployment rate suggests inefficiency on the part of the policy makers, this situation can be likened to that of a doctor prescribing the wrong drug for a sickness (Steve, 2005).

The Nigeria economy, like those of other developing third world countries, is poised for a very rough time. Statistics indicates that over 70% of the population is below the poverty line of 1$ a day. Unemployment rate, officially said to be 5%, but in reality perhaps, doubles that, and has remained very high. Indeed Nigeria competes for the highest rate of youth and graduate unemployment in Africa which says quite a lot, not just about investment in social capital, but also its utilization (Luke, 2008).

Attributable also to the view of policy makers and the youths, employment means a job with salary and working for someone else. It is this perception that has continued to influence the institutions in Nigeria that provide skills and training. Based on this, curricula and training programmes are generally tailored towards preparing young people for formal sector jobs. Since these jobs do not exist, there is often a mismatch between the skills possessed by the job seekers and the available jobs.

Entrepreneurship which is seen also as an antidote to unemployment has not been blossoming in the country. The reason for such is not farfetched as the country is bedevilled with low capital formation which is due to high rate of unemployment and poor fusion of both technical and vocational education. Therefore, dwindling the potentials of the country, especially following official figures from the Bureau of statistics that puts the figure at about 20% (about 30 million), which still did not include about 40 million other Nigerian youths captured in World Bank statistics in 2009. By implication, it means that out of the 150 million Nigerians, 50% are unemployed, or worse still, at least 71% of Nigerian youths are unemployed. It is imperative to note that, employment creation is no longer the prerogative of government but, a joint effort between the public and private sectors.

It is in this regard that this paper seeks a permanent solution to this endemic and pandemic phenomenon in economic development.




The primary objective of this research work is to evaluate the impact of youth unemployment in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau state and propose possible solutions that can help reduce the problem of Youth Unemployment on the Nigerian economy. The specific objectives are;

  1. To x-ray the causes of unemployment among and it form the youths in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau state.
  2. To ascertain the impact of youth unemployment in Jos north Local Government Area.
  • To identify how youth education affects unemployment.
  1. To proffer solutions to the problem of youth unemployment.


            This research work is aimed at finding answers o the following questions;

What causes are responsible for unemployment among the youths in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau state?

i        What are the causes and forms of unemployment prevalent in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau state?

ii       To what extent is the impact of youth unemployment on Jos North LGA?

iii      To what extent does increase in education influence youth unemployment in Nigeria?

iv      How can the problem of youth unemployment be ameliorated in Nigeria?


            The following hypothesis will be tested in this study;

            H0=µ;   Youth unemployment has no significant impact on the Nigerian economy.

H1≠µ;    Youth unemployment has a significant impact on the Nigerian economy.


            This study is aimed at benefiting the following;

To the researcher, it will add up to knowledge in relation to the Nigerian economy. It will also bring fulfilment of academic pursuit, thereby serving as a medium for students that would embark on similar research work in the future.

To the government and other policy makers it would give insight into the problems of unemployment facing the economy and provide solutions for economic growth and development in Nigeria.

To the general public, the study will broaden their knowledge about the effects of youth unemployment and would also serve s an aid to providing information for further research.

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