Figuratively Speaking for May 16, 2010

Percentage of all working adults who have people that they would consider friends at work, according to a Randstad survey: 95

Percentage of respondents who say that having friends at work makes their job more enjoyable: 67

Percentage who say it makes their job more satisfying: 55

Source: Randstad.

Increase over the past 20 years in average annual Social Security benefit payments to seniors who retired in 1990, according to an analysis conducted by The Senior Citizens League: $4,967

During the same time period, total raise in annual pay for members of Congress -- 1,458 percent more than seniors: $77,400

Number of times more quickly that congressional pay grows than Social Security checks: 15

Source: Senior Citizens League.

Number of flight cancellations caused by the eruption of Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano, according to a USA Today/Gallup Poll: 100,000

Estimated cost to the airline industry: $1.7 billion

Percentage of Americans who were affected: 14

Source: Gallup.

Despite rooms filled with all manner of electronic distractions, approximate percentage of the nation's children age 7 or younger who most often opt for a bedtime story before turning in for the night, according to a survey commissioned by 50

Percentage of Americans who say that "Goodnight Moon," Margaret Wise Brown's perennial classic first published in 1947, is America's favorite bedtime story: 23

Percentage of parents of children age 7 or younger who say they have made up stories, and that these stories are the overwhelming choice of their children: 74


Percentage of global executives who said they are willing to relocate to a different region, state or country, according to Korn/Ferry's Executive Quiz: 82

Percentage of respondents who said that career acceleration is the primary reason to move: 78

Percentage who also chose "job title and promotion" or "salary" as the top motivator: 20

Source: Korn/Ferry International.

Current average personal debt of an individual in the U.K. (excluding mortgages), according to research carried out by the Post Office: 9,731.51 pounds

Percentage of consumers who admitted to hiding their debt from their partner: 20

Percentage of those with hidden debt who have never been open about the true extent of their debt: 78

Of the 22 percent who were open, percentage who were discovered rather than chose to come clean: 60

Source: Baines and Ernst.

Percentage of Americans who said they have shared a negative product or service experience with others on Facebook, YouTube or another social networking site, according to a survey sponsored by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies: 20

Percentage of respondents who said their company had no policy for talking about the company on social networking sites: 64

Of the 36 percentage who said their company had a policy, percentage who said they were encouraged to talk about the company: 18

Source: Chubb Group.

In 1990, percentage of all U.S. babies who were born to teen mothers, according to a report by the Pew Research Center's Social and Demographic Trends project based on data from the National Center for Health Statistics and the Census Bureau: 13

In the same year, percentage of babies who were born to women age 35 and older: 9

In 2008, percentage of births that were to teens: 10

Percentage that were to women age 35 and older: 14


Percentage of U.S. adults who have two or more computers: 57.7

Percentage of U.S. adults who purchased a laptop computer in the past 12 months: 12.9

Source: Nielsen Analytics.

Year that a radical new building began to take shape in Chicago -- America's first skyscraper, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 1884

Number of stories high that designer William Jenney was able to build the structure using a metal frame for support, with walls hung like curtains on the frame (previously, walls supported buildings, limiting the height that could be safely reached): 10

Amount of money that the U.S. construction industry spends erecting nonresidential buildings every year: $263 billion

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Idle Thought

"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for anyone else." -- Charles Dickens

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)

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