Figuratively Speaking for April 21, 2017

Percentage of workers who have had to undergo training to keep or move forward in a position, according to a survey by Toluna: 71

Percentage of workers who will need to seek additional certifications, skills training or degrees to advance their careers at some point in the future: 73

Source: Toluna QuickSurveys.

Year that Hyman Lipman was granted a patent for a pencil with an incorporated rubber eraser that could be sharpened, as it protruded from the wood sheath at the end opposite the graphite, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 1858

Despite all of our electronic marvels, number of pencils that are still produced globally every year: 14 billion

Estimated U.S. annual production: 2 billion

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Cost to the IRS to collect $100 in federal revenue, according to research by WalletHub: 35 cents

Total time Americans spend on their taxes each year: 6 billion hours

Percentage of filers who get a refund each year: 70

Percentage of filers who would get an "IRS" tattoo for a tax-free future: 20

Source: WalletHub.

Percentage of workers who indicated they'd leave their job if they didn't feel appreciated, according to a survey by OfficeTeam: 66

Percentage of senior managers who believe it's common for staff to quit due to a lack of recognition: 54

Source: OfficeTeam.

During the past year, percentage of Americans who donated time to a charitable cause, according to a survey by Toluna: 28

Percentage of respondents who have committed a random act of kindness for someone else (aka "paying it forward"): 60

Percentage who have paid for someone else's groceries when they didn't have enough money: 34

Source: Toluna QuickSurveys.

Average number of guests at a wedding in America, according to the results of The Knot study of U.S. brides and grooms: 141

Average number of bridesmaids: 5

Average number of groomsmen: 5

Source: The Knot.

When Americans were asked how they planned on spending their retirement, percentage who said "traveling," according to the Ipsos/USA Today retirement poll: 55

Percentage who said "spending more time with family": 54

Percentage who cited "volunteering": 35

Source: Ipsos.

Percentage of credit card holders who have never redeemed their credit card rewards, according to a Bankrate.com report: 31

Percentage who typically redeem their rewards points/miles frequently: 38

Ranks of cash back, airline tickets and gift cards on the list of the most popular redemptions: 1, 2, 3

Source: Bankrate.com.

Ranks of Holland, Michigan; Carbondale, Illinois; Springville, Utah; and East Chicago, Indiana, on WalletHub's list of the best small cities to start a business: 1, 2, 3, 4

Source: WalletHub.

Percentage of millennials (18- to 34-year-olds) surveyed by CentSai who said they would choose a local lender, in contrast to recent Fannie Mae data showing approximately 69 percent of all homebuyers would apply for a mortgage online: 71

Percentage of millennials who said they would use a local real estate agent instead of an online agent: 75

Source: CentSai.

Idle Thought

"Don't ask me who's influenced me. A lion is made up of the lambs he's digested, and I've been reading all my life." -- Giorgos Seferis, writer and Nobel laureate

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre@bwr.eastlink.ca.)

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