Gallup today released the first results from newly developed global employment measures that took more than two years to research and fine-tune.
The findings, detailed in a lead story on Gallup.com and provided in full detail in our new global employment tracking interactive, reveal that 7% of the world's workforce was unemployed in 2009 and 2010. Additionally, they tell us that another 12% were working part time but seeking full-time work, making 19% in total who were underemployed.
Gallup sought to create these metrics to provide the world, for the first time, with employment measures based on the same standards and methodology worldwide, so that they can be compared across countries.
At the release of these findings, Sara Elder, a labour economist at the International Labour Organization (ILO), credited Gallup with "attempting to step in to fill the data gap," saying the new measures provide country data on which the ILO previously had little to no data.
Also at the event, Dr. Alan Krueger of Princeton University, a former assistant secretary and chief economist at the U.S. Department of Treasury and a Gallup senior scientist, said, "Gallup has done a service to the world" with these data, calling them reliable, plausible, and consistent with other evidence. He said the data will allow leaders "to look at whether their country is underperforming compared to their region or countries with similarly structured economies."
In addition to the globally comparable data on unemployment and underemployment, Gallup initiated a new global metric that measures the percentage of a country's workforce that is employed full time for an employer. Jon Clifton, deputy director of Gallup's Social & Economic Analysis division and a coauthor of Gallup's white paper detailing the research that went into the work, said this new metric aims to provide a better benchmark of good jobs -- that is, those beyond subsistence jobs that contribute to the formal economy -- than those that are available. Gallup finds 40% of the world's workforce employed in this way, with dramatic differences by country and region.
Gallup finds this new measure of employment full time for an employer to have a strong statistical relationship with GDP. This makes it an especially powerful indicator for world leaders -- to help them measure and track their efforts to create quality jobs that truly help to improve residents' lives and economies more broadly.
Avid readers of Gallup.com may notice when reviewing the data that the global data are reported in ranges, rather than with the precision with which we report our U.S. employment data. This is a result of our current worldwide sample sizes. While in the U.S. we survey at least 1,000 Americans each night, in many countries worldwide we are currently only able to survey 1,000 residents each year. We hope to increase our sample sizes in many countries in the coming years, as we create powerful partnerships to help us further this important work.
As was made clear at today's event, these data are just the beginning of where we are headed with this work. We will continue to improve and refine these metrics to increase the value they provide. Comments and suggestions are welcome at SocialandEconomicAnalysis@gallup.com.
In the meantime, we'll report more about what we've already learned on Gallup.com over the coming weeks and months. To make sure you get every story as soon as it published, sign up to receive our Global Employment e-mail alerts or RSS feed.
Update: Read coverage of these measures from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, NPR, and Bloomberg.
Labels: employment, job creation, world