Figuratively Speaking for March 14, 2010

Percentage of the U.S. workforce that was underemployed during the month of January, translating to close to 30 million Americans who are working less than their desired capacity, according to Gallup's daily measure of U.S. employment: 19.9

Average amount spent per day by those who were underemployed: $48

Average amount spent per day by those who were employed: $75

Source: Gallup.

Percentage of small business owners who believe that stockpiling cash is the best strategy for sustaining their business through the current economic climate, according to a survey released by Brother International Corp.: 53

Percentage of business owners who will strive to make their company -- including employees, marketing budgets and workspace -- more efficient this year: 79

Source: Brother International.

Month and year of the birth of Theodor Seuss Geisel, a Pulitzer Prize winner far better known as Dr. Seuss, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: March 1904

Estimated number of his books -- with their distinctive poetry and illustrations -- that have been sold around the world: 200 million

Even with increasing electronic competition, annual revenue generated by his books that are published and bought for children: $3.3 billion

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

If the old adage holds true that "hemlines go up when the economy improves," the percentage of respondents who predicted that this year's hemlines would go to just below the knee (cautious optimism), according to the results of a survey commissioned by Taubman Centers: 44

Percentage who predicted they would go to above the knee (light at the end of the tunnel): 38

Percentage who said "ankle duster" (uncertain times ahead): 14

Percentage who said "cheesecake" (good news ahead) -- a reference to classic pinup photography: 4 percent

Source: Taubman Centers Inc.

Percentage of 16- to 17-year-old high school students who said that it is their responsibility to fund part or all of their higher education costs, according to the findings of the College Savings Foundation's first How Youth Plan to Fund College Survey: 75

Percentage of high school students who are grappling with trade-offs, saying that the cost of school will definitely (30 percent) or possibly (47 percent) influence their further education plans: 77

Source: College Savings Foundation.

Percentage of full-time positions that were filled by internal transfers and promotions in 2009, according to research by careerxroads.com: 51

Percentage of all external hires accounted for by referrals: 26.7

Source: CareerXroads.

Percentage decline in U.S. ad spending in 2009, according to preliminary figures released by The Nielsen Co.: 9

Estimated amount of money this represents: $11.6 billion

Source: Nielsen Analytics.

As markets continue to stabilize, percentage of executives of private companies who are optimistic about the U.S. economy over the next 12 months (up two percentage points from the previous quarter), according to PricewaterhouseCoopers' Private Company Trendsetter Barometer survey: 45

Percentage of those who market abroad who are optimistic about the world economy: 47

Source: PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Percentage of Americans who wrongly believe the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is an "umbrella group" for America's local humane societies, according to Center for Consumer Freedom: 71

Percentage who falsely believe HSUS "contributes most of its money" to local organizations that care for cats and dogs: 59

According to the federal income tax return filed by HSUS for the tax year 2008, percentage of the organization's budget that consisted of grants to hands-on pet shelters: 0.5

Source: Center for Consumer Freedom.

In a survey of 32 state departments of transportation, number that are now using Twitter to communicate with travelers when major traffic incidents or severe weather, such as snow storms, hurricanes and tornadoes, force road closures or detours, according to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials: 26

Ranks of Twitter (65 percent), RSS feeds (56 percent), podcasts (18 percent) and Facebook (13 percent) on the list of the most effective methods to reach their primary audiences: 1, 2, 3, 4

Source: American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Idle Thought

"Old age deprives the intelligent man only of qualities useless to wisdom." -- Joseph Joubert, essayist

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

More like Figuratively Speaking