Figuratively Speaking for May 31, 2009

Percentage of car owners who reported being very satisfied with maintenance performed at independent shops (compared with 77 percent at dealerships), according to a Consumer Reports National Research Center survey: 84

Ranks of Lexus, Buick and Acura (with 85, 83 and 82 percent satisfaction rates, respectively) on the list of top scoring car brands in dealership maintenance satisfaction: 1, 2, 3

Source: Consumer Reports.

Percentage fewer graduates that employers plan to hire from the class of 2009 than from last year's class, according to a survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers: 22

Percentage of former American graduates whose advice to the class of 2009 is to pick a career because they like it, not because of earning potential (in other words, "to choose passion over money"), according to the results of the American Adecco Workplace Insights Survey: 71

Percentage of Americans who advise current students to pick a career based on salary alone: 13

Source: Adecco.

Percentage of consumers who are using the Internet more frequently to research products and prices, according to a survey commissioned by NCR Corp.: 53

Percentage who want to receive price comparisons, product reviews, coupons, promotions and store sales information online or via e-mail: 46

Percentage who are switching between retailers -- i.e., "shop hopping," to get better value: 49

Source: Brand Resources Group, NCR.

Percentage of buying power lost by seniors since the beginning of the decade, according to a new study released today by the Senior Citizens League: 20

Percentage rise in typical senior expenses since 2000: 58

Source: Senior Citizens League.

Year when one of the basics of most women's wardrobes, nylon stockings, went on sale for the first time, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 1940

Number of pairs of nylon stockings that were sold that first year, though they soon became scarce as nylon production went to the war effort making items such as parachutes: 63 million

Estimated number of women's clothing stores across the U.S.: 47,000

Annual value of the apparel and accessories market: $31 billion

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Projected percentage of GDP represented by domestic health care costs by 2010, according to a Gallup Poll: 21

Percentage of Americans who would consider traveling abroad for medical procedures such as heart bypass surgery, hip or knee replacement, plastic surgery, cancer diagnosis and treatment, or alternative medical care, even though all are routinely done in the United States: 29

Assuming equal quality and significantly cheaper cost, percentage who said they would be willing to travel abroad for medical procedures: 40

Source: Gallup.

Number of domestic leisure trips during June, July and August of 2009 that Americans are expected to take, according to the annual summer travel forecast by the U.S. Travel Association: 322 million

Percentage decline from summer 2008, though leisure travel remains resilient in the current economic climate: 2.2

Source: U.S. Travel Association.

Rank of YouTube on the list of "Video Web Brands," according to the Nielsen Co.: 1

Total number of streams through YouTube in April: 5.5 billion

Source: Nielsen Analytics.

Among those who have not traveled outside of their country in the last five years, percentage who say that they see themselves as a global citizen as much as, or more than, a citizen of their nation, according to a WorldPublicOpinion.org survey of people in 21 nations from around the world: 29

Among those who have traveled outside their country at least once in the last five years, percentage who say they see themselves as a global citizen as much as or more than a citizen of their own country: 39

Among those who know people from five or more regions of the world who see themselves as global citizens: 47

Source: WorldPublicOpinion.org.

Percentage of executives who reported increased concern about potential violations of the anti-bribery provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), according to a Deloitte survey: 75

As a result of FCPA concerns, percentage of respondents who indicated their companies had renegotiated or canceled a planned business relationship or acquisition: 42

Ranks of Russia/Commonwealth of Independent States and China on the list of countries eliciting the most concern about the potential for FCPA violations: 1, 2

Across geographies, ranks of subcontractors who don't add value, fraudulent training and travel expenses, and third-party foreign payers on the list of the most common bribery schemes reported: 1, 2, 3

Source: Deloitte Financial Advisory Services LLP.

Idle Thought

"Our heads are round so that thoughts can change direction." -- Francis Picabia, painter and poet

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

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