Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For July 06, 2008

Estimated revenue generated by digital music sales, with tracks available through 500 online services located in 40 countries, according to IBISWorld Inc.: $2 billion

Estimated percentage of the total global music market this represents: 10

In 2006, estimated number of songs, equating to 38,000 years of music, that were swapped on peer-to-peer Web sites: 5 billion

Number that were purchased online: 509 million

Source: IBISWorld.

Percentage decline in the number of engineering bachelor's degrees in 2007, according to a survey by the American Society for Engineering Education: 1.2

Percentage drop in engineering master's degrees since 2005: 8.8

Projected number of new engineering positions (not including the replacement of many retiring engineers) that will be needed over the 10-year period between 2006 and 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: 160,000

Source: American Society for Engineering Education.

Percentage of Americans who say that they will be able to retire comfortably, according to a study released by Bankrate Inc.: 28

Percentage who say they'll have just enough finances to get by when retired: 33

Percentage who say that they have set low expectations about their retirement prospects: 70

Source: Bankrate Inc.

Estimated percentage of all U.S. weddings that are second marriages, according to the National Stepfamily Resource Center: 43

Percentage of those that involve children: 65

Source: National Stepfamily Resource Center.

Estimated value of the home video market -- the largest segment of consumer movie spending, according to findings released by the Entertainment Merchants Association: $24 billion

Estimated percentage of all consumer movie spending in 2007 that is represented by the home video market: 49

Source: Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA).

When asked what would most enhance U.S. energy security, percentage of financial executives who said that the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve should be opened for drilling, according to the KPMG survey: 43

Percentage who said that investment in renewable energy (biodiesel, etc.) will enhance U.S. energy security the most: 28

When asked which clean energy source will dominate in the next 20 years, percentage of respondents who cited natural gas: 50

Percentage who said nuclear energy: 31

Source: KPMG LLP.

Percentage of the firms describing their quality programs as "mature/world class" that had established a correlation between cash flow and a specific quality metric, according to the "Measuring and Demonstrating the Value of Quality Initiatives" study: 86

Percentage of the study's total benchmark class that was able to make the same claim: 57

Percentage of mature quality organizations that employ benchmarking to drive operational improvements: 100

Source: Best Practices LLC.

Cost per dog for the Haute Dog Package (for dogs up to 22 lbs), which includes gourmet chow, thalassotherapy baths, a personal attendant and chauffeured transportation, according to Paraiso de la Bonita: $105

Cost for a doggie spa day, which includes grooming, thalassotherapy bath and a massage: $199

Source: Paraiso de la Bonita.

Ranks of instructor-led workshops (83 percent), on-the-job training (82 percent) and continuing education courses (80 percent) as the most common professional development methods offered by employers, according to poll released by the Society for Human Resource Management in conjunction with WSJ.com/Careers: 1, 2, 3

Source: Society for Human Resource Management.

Estimated value of sales in the lingerie market in 2007, according to a Packaged Facts' study, "U.S. Market for Women's Intimate Apparel": $10 billion

Value of sales in women's plus-size clothing market in 2007: $22 billion

Percentage of all plus-size apparel sold in 2007 that is accounted for by intimate apparel: 10

Source: Packaged Facts.

Idle Thought

"Ability will never catch up with the demand for it." -- Malcolm Forbes

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

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600