Figuratively Speaking for January 31, 2010

Percentage of Americans who are optimistic about their personal finances this year and listed among their most important goals: spending less overall, building up an emergency fund, and earning enough to cover monthly bills, according to a survey sponsored by ING Direct USA: 43

Percentage of Americans who plan to stash more cash in 2010 than in 2009: 64

Source: ING Direct USA.

Percentage growth in the median household incomes (adjusted for both inflation and household size) of married men, married women and unmarried women from 1970 to 2007, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of four decades of U.S. Census data: 60

Percentage growth in the median household income of unmarried men over this period: 16

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

Ranks of financial planning and advice, weight-loss and fitness, and work-related education among the sectors that will benefit most from New Year's resolutions in 2010, according to a study by IBISworld: 1, 2, 3

Approximate percentage growth in gym membership in January: 12.5

Projected percentage growth in February: 9.5

Projected percentage growth in March: 8.7

Overall forecasted percentage growth in gyms and health/fitness clubs in 2010: 3.2

Source: IBISWorld.

Percentage of respondents who said they enjoy the commercials that air throughout the Super Bowl more than the game itself, according to results of a survey by the Nielsen Co.: 51

Percentage who said that they enjoy the game more than the ads: 49

Source: Nielsen Media Research.

Chance that a public high school student in the U.S. does not graduate, according to the Kaufman Foundation: 1 in 4

Among high school graduates, percentage that are considered proficient in mathematics: 17

Source: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

Percentage of Americans who said the "balloon boy" hoax was the most ridiculous news story of 2009, according to a Zogby poll: 23

Percentage who cited the Jon and Kate Gosselin breakup: 22

Percentage who said the Octomom giving birth to eight babies: 12

Source: Zogby International.

Percentage of Americans who believe that the U.S. economy could enter another recession in 2010, according to The Wealth Hazards Worry Index: 40

Percentage of people who are confident that no recession will occur in 2010: 28

Source: Wealth Hazards.

Percentage of Americans who agree that airline passengers who fit the profile of terrorists based on their age, ethnicity or gender should be subjected to special, more intensive security checks before boarding U.S. flights, according to a Gallup Poll: 71

Source: Gallup.

Percentage of CEOs who plan to increase their total workforce expenses over the next 12 to 18 months, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers' Private Company Trendsetter Barometer survey: 57

Percentage of respondents who plan to remain the same: 35

Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Percentage of workers who say their jobs are stagnant, according to Development Dimensions International's 2009 Pulse of the Workforce survey: 46

Percentage of stagnant workers (and 1 in 3 workers overall) who just do their jobs and go home: 50

Percentage of those who said their jobs are stagnant who cited no room to advance as the reason: 32

Source: Development Dimensions International.

Idle Thought

"Great thoughts reduced to practice become great acts." -- William Hazlitt, essayist

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

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