Figuratively Speaking for May 03, 2009

Percentage of Americans who now consider owning a car is a necessity, according to a Pew Research survey: 91

Percentage who say a clothes washer is a necessity: 90

Ranks of a clothes dryer (83 percent), home air conditioning (70 percent), microwave (68 percent) and TV set (64 percent) on the list of amenities that Americans consider as necessary: 3, 4, 5, 6

Source: Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Percentage of professionals who say they very or somewhat frequently go to work when they feel sick, according to a survey developed by OfficeTeam: 75

When executives were asked how often they think employees come to work when they feel sick, percentage who said very frequently: 17

Source: OfficeTeam.

Estimated number of mothers in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 82.5 million

Percentage of American consumers who take part in some way in Mother's Day, according to Hallmark: 96

Rank of Mother's Day as the peak day of the year for long-distance telephone calls: 1

Source: about.com.

Percentage of doctors in the U.S. who would choose a different profession if they could start over today, according to the National Physicians' Study conducted by HCD Research: 30

Ranks of negotiated rates and malpractice suits on the list of the reasons cited by doctors for wanting to switch professions: 1, 2

Source: HCD Research Inc.

Percentage of college students who left school with more than $5,000 in credit card debt, according to a survey commissioned by TrueCredit.com: 24

Percentage of respondents who indicated they owed more than $10,000 for purchases made with credit cards: 10

Source: TrueCredit.com.

Number of businesses in the U.S. that consist of only the owner with no additional employees, according to a study by FindLaw.com: 20 million

Source: FindLaw.com.

Percentage of Americans who may be missing out on credits and deductions due to their lack of familiarity with the tax system and tax law changes, according to a new study conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of H&R Block: 50

Percentage of those with college degrees who wrongly think it is possible to claim deductions or credits that were missed on previous tax returns: 45

Source: Ipsos Public Affairs.

Number of households that represent the wealthiest 10 percent of all U.S. households, as determined by the Federal Reserve Board, according to a study by the American Affluence Research Center: 11.2 million

Percentage of luxury consumers who report they have reduced overall expenditures during the past 12 months and/or will do so during the next 12 months: 81

Percentage decline in home remodeling plans from what they were one year ago: 50

Source: American Affluence Research Center.

Percentage of Americans who view plunging housing prices combined with historically low interest rates who believe that now is a "good time" to buy a house — up 18 percentage points from a year ago and the highest level of housing-purchase optimism in four years, according to a Gallup Poll: 71

Percentage drop in housing prices in 20 U.S. metropolitan areas in January 2009 compared to a year ago, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index: 19

Source: Gallup.

Despite it being one of the most challenging hiring environments in the nation's history, percentage of workers laid off from full-time jobs in the last three months who reported they found a new full-time, permanent position, according to a survey from CareerBuilder: 41

Percentage who found part-time work: 8

Of those workers who were laid off in the last 12 months, percentage who received a severance package from their employers: 32

Source: CareerBuilder.com.

Idle Thought

"A lawn is nature under totalitarian rule." -- Michael Pollan, author

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

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