Despite the economic recession, which led to massive loss of jobs in the country, the Labour Productivity Index rose by 10.8 per cent in 2016, data released by the National Bureau of Statistics showed.
The figure was contained in the Labour Productivity Report for the fourth quarter of 2016, which was released by the NBS on Thursday.
The report revealed that labour productivity increased to N783.51 in the fourth quarter of last year from N713.77 in the third quarter, N636.30 in the second quarter, N605.27 in the first quarter and N706.95 at the end of 2015
The report stated that the estimated total number of hours worked also increased by 0.48 per cent between the third and fourth quarter.
It attributed the increase in labour productivity to relative stability in power supply during the period, noting that the challenges of weak investment inflows affected the level of labour output.
The NBS report stated, “Quarter four 2016 saw a rise in labour productivity, the highest levels since Q1 2015. While the overall level of productivity was high, there were several challenges that generally impacted on output and labour, and indirectly on labour productivity, keeping it below optimal levels. Some of these issues faced during the quarter were issues that spilled over from Q1 through Q2 and Q3 2016.
“Investment in the economy was still relatively low; though some government investments were recorded during the quarter, the volume of private investment and foreign direct investments was still considerably low compared to previous years.
“Power was relatively stable during the quarter, which partly accounted for the increase in labour productivity, but was still lower than the required levels.”
The report added that though there was a contraction in the economy in the fourth quarter in real terms, which was accompanied by an increase in the unemployment rate, the growth in labour productivity was a reflection of the gradual increase in labour efficiency employed in the economy.
“The nature of productivity in the fourth quarter also gives an idea of the main drivers of the growth in labour productivity. The agriculture sector recorded a growth of 3.39 per cent, the highest among any major economic activity, with the parts of the fourth quarter being the harvest season in the Nigerian agricultural calendar; this may well have added to the growth in labour productivity in Q4, 2016,” it added.