Figuratively Speaking for October 04, 2009

Percentage of self-employed workers (from small business owners and consultants to fishing guides and freelance writers, private contractors, artists and construction workers) who say they are "completely satisfied" with their jobs, (compared with 28 percent of all wage or salaried employees), according to survey by the Pew Research Center Social and Demographic Trends project: 39

Percentage of all workers who are their own bosses who say they are dissatisfied with their employment situation, half the proportion of other workers who are dissatisfied: 5

Source: Pewsocialtrends.org.

Savings achieved by consumers using packaged goods coupons last year, according to The Promotion Marketing Association Coupon Council: $3 billion

Estimated number of dollars worth of packaged goods coupons that are offered annually: $400 billion

Source: Promotion Marketing Association.

When on a first date, percentage of respondents who say they will decide in just a half hour whether they will see the other person again, according to a survey conducted jointly by American Way, the in-flight magazine of American Airlines and by specialty dating service It's Just Lunch: 66

Percentage who say they make the decision in the first five minutes: 16

Source: It's Just Lunch/American Way.

Approximate number of hours per week that are lost by Intel's knowledge workers due to information overload, according to Basex research: 8

Annual cost this represents for a company the size of Intel: $1 billion

Source: Basex Inc.

Rank of strategic thinking on the list of the most important qualities for leadership competency, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive: 1

Percentage of directors and vice presidents who have never had training on strategy: 90

Source: Harris Interactive.

Percentage of business people who feel attention spans are shorter today than they were three years ago, according to a survey by Connie Dieken, a leadership communication coach: 99

Source: Comcast.

Percentage of Americans who think the government is trying to do too many things that should be left to individuals and businesses, according to a Gallup Poll: 57

Percentage who think that government should do more to solve our country's problems: 38

Source: Gallup.

Percentage of small business owners who have a positive view of the economic environment and its impact on their ability to grow, according to the American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor: 55

Concurrently, percentage of firms that are at risk of going out of business due in part to personal funds being tapped out (up from 11 percent six months ago): 17

Percentage that are using personal or private funds to manage cash-flow challenges (up from 23 percent six months ago): 32

Source: American Express OPEN.

Number of school-age children (ages 5 to 17) in the U.S. who speak a language other than English at home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 10.9 million

Number of those children who speak Spanish at home: 7.9 million

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Percentage of all participating food banks that reported a significant surge in demand for emergency food assistance over the past year, according to a survey by Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger relief charity: 99

Percentage of food banks that report that the increase is particularly driven by first-time users of the food assistance system: 98

Percentage of food banks that reported that they are seeing more children as clients: 56

Source: Feeding America.

Idle Thought

"In the youth of a state, arms do flourish; in the middle age of a state, learning; and then both of them together for a time; in the declining age of a state, mechanical arts and merchandise. " -- Francis Bacon, essayist, philosopher and statesman

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

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