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Worldwide unemployment is about 7%, new Gallup survey finds

January 19, 2011 | 11:03 am

Gallup employment map

About 7% of the world's workforce is unemployed, while 40% of the global workers had stable jobs for a full-time employer, according to new report from Gallup.

The data released Wednesday came from Gallup surveys done in 129 countries and regions in 2009 and 2010, and represent the first results from an initiative by the public opinion firm to look at global employment. The United Nations reported about a year ago that global unemployment was at 6.6% and there were a record 212 million people out of work.

Gallup analyzed the percentage of people who were unemployed, underemployed or working full-time for an employer, and presented the data in an interactive map.

Gallup said the last category was an important indicator. Some developing countries have relatively low unemployment rates -- the African nation of Chad, for example, was below 5% -- but that's because many people are self-employed in subsistence jobs. Countries with a higher percentage of people working full-time for an employer tend to have higher per capita economic output, or gross domestic product, Gallup said.

Regionally, sub-Saharan Africa had the smallest percentage of its workforce, just 19%, employed full-time for an employer. The region with the highest percentage -- 59% -- comprised the nations of the former Soviet Union. The United States was over 50% and the worldwide figure was 40%.

The United States was roughly in the middle of the pack for unemployment, based on survey results that are not completely up to date. The U.S. was listed as having an unemployment rate of 10% to 14%, although the actual rate according to government data had dipped to 9.4% in December.

Countries were placed in four categories based on ranges of rates for the employment measures. Eighteen nations were in the worst category for unemployment, with rates of 15% or higher. The U.S. was in the second-worst category, along with countries such as Afghanistan, Brazil, Greece and Mexico.

China was in a group of about two dozen countries with unemployment rates of 5% or less.

-- Jim Puzzanghera

 

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