Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For November 06, 2011

Estimated percentage of the U.S. population who will contract the flu this year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: 5 to 20

Number of people this represents: 15 to 60 million

Percentage fewer colds that conscientious or nervous personality types reported experiencing: 10

Number of times more likely that those with good manners, such as covering their mouths when sneezing, were to have good health: 2 1/2

Source: Reckitt Benckiser.

Year that Camel cigarettes, the first pre-blended, packaged cigarettes, went on sale (before that, smokers had to roll them by hand), according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 1913

Year cigarettes overtook pipe tobacco in the number of pounds consumed: 1919

Now, percentage of American adults who smoke: 18.5

Across the country, rank of West Virginia as the state with the highest rate of smoking at just under 27 percent: 1

Rank of Utah as the state with the lowest rate of smoking at around 9 percent: 1

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Percentage of those with bachelor's degrees in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) occupations who earn more than holders of a master's degrees in non-STEM occupations, according to a report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce: 65

Percentage of those with bachelor's degrees in STEM occupations who earn more than Ph.D.s in non-STEM occupations: 47

Source: Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Percentage of employers who reported that workers call in sick more often during the winter holidays, according to CareerBuilder's Annual Survey conducted by Harris Interactive: 33

Percentage of workers who have admitted to already playing hooky from the office this year, citing errands and plans with family and friends among the top reasons for calling in sick when they were well: 29


Percentage of American workers who report they work for organizations whose purpose and values inform decision-making and guide all employee and company behavior, according to a study from LRN: 3

Percentage of respondents who work for organizations that do not make them feel completely comfortable in speaking up (e.g., when they see misconduct), challenging the status quo, or voicing alternative opinions or views: 94

Source: LRN.

Percentage of the public who say we should pay less attention to problems overseas and instead concentrate on problems here at home, according to a study by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press: 58

Percentage who say it is best for the future of our country to be active in world affairs: 33

Percentage of Americans who say the U.S. should take into account the interests of its allies, even if it means making compromises with them: 53

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

Percentage of HR professionals who said they were working with reduced staff and financial allocation resources than they were two years ago, according to a survey by Information Strategies Inc.: 51

Percentage who report they expect allocations will be even less in 2012: 40

Source: Information Strategies Inc.

Estimated percentage of homeowners who know that they are responsible for repairs to the main water supply line on their property, according to a survey conducted by Home Emergency Solutions: 50

Percentage of homeowners who assume that their local utility is responsible for the cost of a burst water line between their house and the street: 33

Source: Home Emergency Solutions.

Percentage of the total value of B2B (business to business) accounts receivables that are defaulted on, according to the Atradius Payment Practices Barometer survey of respondents across 27 countries and sovereign states in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific: 3

Percentage of invoices that were paid late: 30

Percentage that extended past two months overdue: 12

Source: Atradius Corporate Communications and Marketing.

Percentage of baby boomers who rank vision as the most important of the five senses, according to Eye on the Boomer, a survey released by the Ocular Nutrition Society: 78

Percentage who worry about vision loss -- almost as much as they worry about heart disease (60 percent) and cancer (65 percent): 55

Percentage of respondents who were not aware of the role of omega 3 fatty acids, an important nutrient in eye health: 60

Source: Ocular Nutrition Society.

Idle Thought

"If they give you ruled paper, write the other way." -- Juan Ramon Jimenez, poet, Nobel Prize in literature

(Readers can contact John MacIntyre at johnmacintyre(at)