Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For September 14, 2008

Estimated annual price tag for the United States caused by Americans' expanding waistlines, according to Gold's Gym-sponsored research titled "Fat-O-Nomics": $122.9 billion

Estimated amount that obese Americans lose annually out of their own pockets (based on the median U.S. salary of $48,451): $10,000

Source: Gold's Gym.

Rank of Philadelphians as the most generous tippers in the nation, according to a Zagat survey: 1

Average tip -- as a percentage of the bill -- left by those from the City of Brotherly Love: 19.6

Countrywide average: 19

Source: Zagat.

Number of high-income countries that offer no paid parental leave, according to a Center for Economic and Policy Research report: 2 (United States and Australia)

In the United States, total guaranteed (non-transferable) weeks of unpaid leave for two-parent family under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): 24 weeks (12 for mother; 12 for father)

In terms of total guaranteed time off from work, rank of the U.S. out of 21 high-income countries: 20

Rank of Switzerland, in terms of time off from work (14 weeks of protected leave, though financial support is paid at 80 percent of a mother's income): 21

Paid leave offered to mother or father in Sweden: 78 weeks

Source: Council on Contemporary Families.

Percentage of hiring managers who said they are willing to negotiate compensation for top candidates, according to a survey by CareerBuilder.com: 65

Percentage of hiring managers who said Generation Y employees (born between 1979 and 1999) are the most difficult to recruit, perhaps because of high expectations about pay, career advancement, flexible schedules and overall work environment: 56

Source: CareerBuilder.com.

Percentage of college students who say they are educated about money management and understand the consequences of debt, according to a poll for Western Union Payment Services conducted by Javelin Research: 84

Percentage who still say they wish they had a plan to help decrease their debt: 50

Source: Western Union Payment Services.

Percentage of finance and accounting professionals who think the United States is currently experiencing a recession, according to a poll by Ajilon Finance for the Institute of Management Accountants: 65

Percentage who feel the economic uncertainty is making their jobs more complex: 54

Source: Ajilon Office.

Percentage of U.S. workers who own pets, according to a national survey of working adults commissioned by Workplace Options: 60

Percentage of workers who are currently stressed by their job and for whom convenience services can help reduce worker anxiety over the competing daily demands of work and family: 72

Source: Workplace Options.

Rank of the United States with 590,200 international students in 2007, Great Britain with 318,400 and Germany with 246,000 on the list of worldwide destinations for foreign students, according to the 2008 edition of the survey "Wissenschaft -- weltoffen," co-edited by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD): 1, 2, 3

Source: German Embassy.

Percentage of U.S. adults who purchase natural and/or organic foods, according to the Whole Foods Market consumer survey findings: 74

Percentage of U.S. adults who indicated that they don't want to compromise on the quality of the food they buy -- even with today's rising food prices: 79

Source: Whole Foods Market.

Percentage of U.S. gamers who are women, according to a report published by industry research firm IBISWorld on the video gaming industry: 38

Average age of video game players (Note: not the teenage boys of the past): 35

Average age of those buying video games: 39

Source: IBISWorld.

Idle Thought

"The highest reward for a person's toil is not what they get for it, but what they become by it." -- John Ruskin

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

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