The Global State of Work

By Richard Florida

This map below from the Gallup organization shows the results from its newly released Global Employment Index. The Index is based on Gallup data on workers that are employed full time for an employer, underemployed, and unemployed; it charts these employment trends by global region. An interactive map can be found here.


In the Americas broadly (the U.S., Canada, and Mexico) 52 percent of the workforce is employed full time by a single employer, 10 percent are unemployed, and 24 percent are underemployed. In Europe, 56 percent are employed full time, nine percent are unemployed, and 20 percent are underemployed. Workers have the most precarious situation in Africa, where only 19 percent are employed full time for an employer. Interestingly, but perhaps not surprisingly, the countries that comprised the former Soviet Union have the highest percentage of their workers working full time for an employer.

Gallup's analysis finds a close association between economic development (measured as GDP per capita) and full time work, a negative relationship between economic development and underemployment, but no relationship between economic development and the rate of unemployment.

Unemployment remains a persistent problem in the U.S. and other advanced nations, but perhaps a closer consideration of full time work and underemployment will yield another, even more useful set of insights.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/01/the-global-state-of-work/69765/