A new Gallup survey discovered that the true global unemployment rate is 32 percent.
“There is a problem with how the world defines and measures what a good job is. Unemployment — the most quoted jobs metric in the world — is misleading, as it grossly underestimates the global jobs problem,” Jon Clifton wrote for Gallup.com.
Gallup reported that “many of the truly unemployed are considered self-employed.” About 3 billion people who want a great job don't have one.
Gallup explains that behind all the numbers and data, “the problem lies in how unemployment is defined and measured.”
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), global unemployment is 5.9%, Gallup reported. “That figure by itself suggests there isn't a global jobs problem. It tells us that, of the more than 3 billion job seekers worldwide, only 200 million are unemployed. Considering that almost half of the world lives on less than $2 a day, that unemployment figure can't be right.”
“The ILO recommends a broad framework of labor force statistics to national statistics offices worldwide. Most countries collect these data using a survey. These surveys ask people how many hours they worked in the past week and whether it was for an employer or themselves. If they weren't employed, people are asked whether they are looking for work. The resulting data are the official employment statistics for the country,” Gallup reports.
There are also disputes about just what global agencies define as “work” and “self-employed.” Are farmers in Africa or people selling trinkets on the street in India really the same as a small-business owner in Anytown, USA?
But Gallop argues to only “consider a real job or a good job — the type of job the whole world wants — as 30+ hours per week of consistent work with a paycheck from an employer.”
Based on this definition, Gallup projects that 1.3 billion out of the world's roughly 5 billion adults have "a good job."
“So who are the other 3.7 billion? About 1 billion people are self-employed; about 400 million work part time and do not want full-time work; about 300 million work part time but want full-time work; 250 million are unemployed; and the rest are out of the workforce. Not all of the self-employed are hopelessly unemployed, but we can conservatively estimate that at least half of them are.," Gallup explained.
"Those 500 million added to the 300 million part-time workers who want full-time work and the unemployed total roughly 1 billion people who are truly unemployed. That figure of about 1 billion, which is just shy of one-third of the entire world's adult workforce of 3.2 billion, would put global unemployment closer to 32% than to the 5.9% that the ILO estimates.”
To be sure, Gallup is only the most recent respected analytical voice to question the methodology behind a nation’s unemployment rate.
For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the US economy created 271,000 jobs in October, a number substantially in excess of the expected 175,000 to 190,000 jobs. The unexpected job gain has dropped the unemployment rate to 5 percent.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts points out that "just about everything" is wrong with those U.S. numbers.
"The new reported jobs are essentially Third World type of jobs that do not produce sufficient income to form a household and do not produce exportable goods and services to help to bring down the large US trade deficit resulting from jobs offshoring," he wrote for the Center for Research on Globalization.
"The problem with the 5% unemployment rate is that it does not include any discouraged workers," he said.
"If the U.S. economy were actually in economic recovery, would half of the 25-year-old population be living with parents? The real job situation is so poor that young people are unable to form households."
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