Gallup also said it had found a more definitive measure than the unemployment rate to assess a county's economic strength by looking at its workforce.
Gallup's new "Payroll to Population" assessment is a measure of how many people are working full time -- 30 hours or more per week -- compared to the size of the country's adult population.
The assessment sidesteps a major problem with the unemployment rate figure, which is frequently criticized for failing to count adults who are not looking for work, many of whom may have stopped looking out of sheer frustration at not being able to find a job.
Gallup said "Payroll to Population" is a measure that is "more strongly related to gross domestic product per capita than any other employment metric, including unemployment, which is traditionally the gold standard employment measure but relates little to GDP."
That said, among global regions, North America has the highest Payroll to Population percentage at 41 percent, compared to sub-Saharan Africa, which has the lowest at 12 percent.
Gallup said self-employment is not counted as working full time. While self-employment is a sign of a flourishing entrepreneurial economy, on a global scale it is far more often a sign of work out of necessity, not choice -- a sign of poverty-level subsistence that contributes marginally if at all to the GDP, Gallup said.
Viewed country by country, Sweden, Belarus and Israel were the only three countries with Payroll to Population rates in the world in 2011 of more than 50 percent.
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