No fewer than 18,919 Nigerians lost their jobs in the nation’s public sector between October 2015 and March 2016, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said.
Although about 5,867 new public sector jobs were generated between October and December 2015, the bureau said about 10,155 jobs were lost during the period in the public sector of the federal, state and local governments.
This translates to a negative employment generation figure of -4,288.
Also, while about 5,726 jobs were created between January and March 2016 in the public sector, the bureau said about 8,764 jobs were lost during the period, with a negative employment generation figure of -3.038 for the period.
The bureau, which reported a sharp decline of 84.1 per cent in total employment against the figure in the last quarter of 2015, said only about 79,469 jobs were generated in the economy in the first three months of 2016, against about 499,521 jobs created during the corresponding period of 2015.
The agency said in its quarterly job creation survey in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), that the figure was 83.1 per cent lower than the 389,605 jobs created in the corresponding period last year.
“This sharp decline in employment generation in the first quarter of 2016 is strongly correlated to the weakening economic output within the period, where the Nigerian economy recorded a negative growth of -0.36 per cent,” the statistics agency said.
An analysis of the jobs created for the quarter showed that 21,477 came from the formal sector, consisting formal professional services with less than 10 employees.
About 61,026 jobs came from the informal sector in the first quarter, made up of mainly low skill, low paying blue collar jobs in agriculture, light manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade businesses.
The NBS said the drop by 27,246 in formal employment in the last quarter of last year and 21,477 in the first quarter of 2016 across all the economic activities was as a result of the slowing down of economic activities in the wake of the economic recession.
With the economy fully in recession a following recent formal confirmation by the NBS, analysts say the employment situation would likely worsen, except government took steps to spend on strategic capital infrastructure to reflate the economy.
The Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice (CENSOJ), Eze Onyekpere, said declining employment figures in an economy in recession was not surprising, as firms are closing up and reducing their workforce in the face of declining Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and high inflation.