Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

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


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 24

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


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


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


Idle Thought

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

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)