Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For March 29, 2009

Number of billionaires on the planet in 2008, according to Forbes' 2009 list of the world's billionaires: 1,125

Number of billionaires on the list this year: 793

Total net worth of these billionaires last year: $4.4 trillion

Total net worth this year: $2.4 trillion

Source: Forbes.

Number of American presidents who have turned down their salaries, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless: 2 (George Washington donated his earnings back to the state; John F. Kennedy donated the money to private organizations)

Source: National Coalition for the Homeless.

Percentage of adults born in Alaska who still live there, placing it last among the 50 states on this measure of population, according to the Pew Research Center's Social Demographic Trends: 28.2

Texas, by contrast, knows how to hold 'em -- percentage of adults born in that state who still live there, making the Lone Star state the nation's stickiest: 75.8

Percentage of adult residents who live in the state of Nevada who were born in a different state: 86.4

Source: Pewsocialtrends.org.

Average percentage more that vehicle repairs cost at new car dealerships than at independent repair shops, according to a study released by the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association: 34.3

Resulting excess costs annually to consumers: $11.7 billion

Source: AAIA.

Percentage of Americans who say their personal financial situation is poor, according to a Zogby poll: 20

Percentage who have little or no confidence their children will have a better life than they had: 42

Source: Zogby International.

Percentage of marketing executives who consider April Fools' jokes unsuitable for the office, according to a survey developed by The Creative Group: 71

Percentage of executives who find workplace pranks appropriate: 51

Source: Robert Half International.

Percentage of small business owners who agree with the statement, "Even in these turbulent economic times, the rewards and opportunities of running my own business outweigh the risks and challenges," according to the American Express OPEN Economic Pulse: 80

Source: American Express OPEN Economic Pulse.

Percentage of consumers who said that energy -- not water or time -- is most important to them when it comes to home appliance efficiency, according to a survey by Whirlpool Corp.: 84

Percentage of energy that can be saved using top-loading HE machines as compared to conventional top-loaders: 67

Percentage less water that these machines use: 70

Source: Harris Interactive.

Value of the pet business in 2008, according to the report U.S. Pet Market Outlook 2009-2010: Surviving and Thriving in Challenging Economic Times: $51 billion

Projected value of the business by 2010: $57 billion

Source: Market Research.

Percentage drop in the number of U.S. households with a net worth of $1 million or more, not including primary residence, according to a report released by Spectrem Group: 27

Percentage drop in the number of ultra-high net worth households, those with a net worth of $5 million or more: 28

Percentage drop in affluent households, a broader group defined as those with $500,000 or more in net worth: 28

Source: Spectrem Group.

Idle Thought

"There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad." -- Salvador Dali, painter

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