Figuratively Speaking for November 21, 2010

Percentage of workers who have played hooky from the office at least once this year, according to CareerBuilder's annual survey on absenteeism: 29

Percentage of employers who think they are seeing an increase in bogus sick excuses from employees due to continued stress and burnout caused by the weak economy: 27

Percentage of employers who reported that they have checked up on an employee who called in sick: 29

Percentage who said they have fired a worker for missing work without a proven excuse: 16

Source: CareerBuilder.com.

Estimated number of pounds of turkey that Americans consume each year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 13.4

Number of U.S. cities named after turkey: Turkey, Texas, Turkey Creek, La., and Turkey, N.C.: 3

Number of cities in the U.S. named after the cranberry: 8

Number of locations in the U.S. named Plymouth: 28

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Percentage of chief financial officers who said that if they could eliminate one responsibility, it would be basic clerical and administrative work, according to a survey developed by Robert Half Management Resources: 38

Percentage who said they would hand off accounting-related tasks: 19

Percentage who said human resource-related work: 14

Percentage who said managing: 7

Source: Robert Half Finance and Accounting.

Percentage of those saving for a college education who do not believe the stock market will provide the returns needed over the next 10 years to enable them to achieve their college savings goals, according to a survey by the Tuition Plan Consortium: 50

Despite the fact that the S&P 500 Index has produced an annualized return of nearly 9.5 percent over the past 50 years, percent of college savers who would rather receive a guaranteed return that offsets increases in tuition than rely on the stock market to produce higher returns: 73

Source: Tuition Plan Consortium.

Estimated number of Americans who will travel 50 miles or more from home this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, a decrease of 600,000 travelers (1.4 percent) from last year's total of 41.6 million, according to a forecast by AAA: 41 million

Estimated number of Americans (81 percent of all holiday travelers) who expect to travel by automobile, a 1.2 percent decrease from the 33.6 million people who drove a year ago: 33.2 million

Source: AAA.

Expected percentage year-over-year increase in the number of passengers traveling on U.S. airlines during the 2010 Thanksgiving holiday season, according to the Air Transport Association of America: 3.5

Number of air travelers who are projected to travel over the period: 24 million

Source: Air Transport Association.

Aside from excellent medical care, percentage of Americans who say that keeping a positive mental attitude is most beneficial when facing a serious health challenge, according to a survey conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs on behalf of CaringBridge: 35

Percentage who feel that having emotional support and encouragement from loved ones would be most beneficial: 27

Percentage who believe that personal prayer and their faith would be their strength: 23

Percentage who believe in staying physically active: 13

Source: Ipsos Public Affairs.

Percentage of online shoppers who are planning to shop on Black Friday, according to an Offers.com survey: 37

Among them, percentage (18 percent of all online shoppers) who plan to do at least part of that shopping online: 50

Among all online shoppers, percentage who are planning to shop on Cyber Monday: 18

Source: Offers.com.

Percentage of Americans who say that having a decent, affordable place to live is either No. 1 or high up on their list of individual and family priorities, according to a Zogby International poll commissioned by the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials: 86

Source: Zogby International.

Percentage of women presidents and CEOs of multimillion-dollar companies who have maintained or grown their employee base, according to the annual economic survey by the Women Presidents' Organization: 74

Percentage of these CEOs and presidents who provide health insurance to their employees: 85

Percentage who cover 81 percent to 100 percent of health insurance for employees: 32

Source: Women Presidents' Organization.

Idle Thought

"When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece." -- John Ruskin, author

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

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