Rural Unemployment and Underemployment in Nigeria: Issues and Options

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Published: 2021-04-23

Page: 138-150

Abosede A. Usoro *

Department of Business Management, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria.

Udeme I. Udongwo

Department of Business Management, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria.

Friday S. Ebong

Department of Economics, University of Calabar, Calabar, Nigeria.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


This paper analyzed the problems of unemployment and underemployment as conventionally defined in Nigeria. It noted that the problems had remained intractable and that measures introduced over the years by various governments to curb the problems had made only modest impacts. Whereas data from government surveys report figures that portray the country as having no such problems, the problems of unemployment and underemployment indeed exist, even at levels that are high and growing. While underemployment seemed a rural phenomenon, unemployment indicated a characteristic of urban centers. Also, unemployment rates among those with secondary education and above were higher in the urban than in the rural areas, but the rates for those with no schooling or with primary education only were higher in the rural areas. The paper, therefore, fingered both supply and demand factors in explaining the problems. It reviewed past efforts at redressing them and suggested ways of sustaining existing programs, and drawn attention to the need to revive those that had gone moribund.

Keywords: Unemployment, underemployment, well-being, ill-being, rural areas, government surveys

How to Cite

Usoro, A. A., Udongwo, U. I., & Ebong, F. S. (2021). Rural Unemployment and Underemployment in Nigeria: Issues and Options. Asian Journal of Economics, Finance and Management, 3(1), 138–150. Retrieved from


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