Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For January 08, 2012

Ranks of the United States, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom on the list of countries ranking highest in terms of charity -- which includes donations of money, volunteering of time and the helping of strangers -- according to CAFAmerica: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Percentage of Americans who said they donated money to charity: 65

Percentage who volunteered their time: 43

Percentage who helped a stranger: 73

Source: CAFAmerica.

In the contiguous U.S., ranks of Rogers Pass, Mont., (70 below zero) and Peter Sinks, Utah, (69 below zero) on the list of places that hold the record low winter temperatures, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 1, 2

Lowest temperature ever recorded in the U.S., at Prospect Creek, Alaska: 80 below zero

To put a different perspective on the word "lowest," record low temperature recorded in Honolulu: 53 degrees

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Percentage of the world's Internet population age 15 and older that is reached by social networking sites, representing 1.2 billion users around the globe, according to a ComScore study: 82

In October, percentage of the world's global audience reached by Facebook: 55

For every seven minutes spent online around the world, number spent on Facebook: 1

For every four social networking minutes spent online, number spent on Facebook: 3

Source: ComScore.

Percentage of employers who said they have fired a worker for calling in sick without a legitimate excuse, according to a survey by CareerBuilder: 15

Percentage that have checked up on an employee: 28

Source: CareerBuilder.com.

Percentage of Americans who oppose increasing the federal gas tax, according to a national Reason-Rupe poll: 77

Percentage of respondents who think the government wastes the gas tax money it already receives: 65

Source: Reason Foundation.

Estimated amount of money that Washington state's tobacco prevention and cessation program saved the state in health care costs over its first 10 years, according to a study published by the American Journal of Public Health and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: $1.5 billion

Cost of the program: $260 million

Amount saved for every $1 spent by reducing hospitalizations for heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and cancer caused by tobacco use: $5

Source: American Journal of Public Health.

When consumers have a positive customer service experience, percentage who are likely to tell a company representative, according to a Spherion survey: 47

Percentage who will express their opinions via social media: 17

Percentage who will write a review: 15

Source: Spherion.

Ranks of growth in sales, job creation and fewer government regulations on the list of things that small-business owners say they would need for their business to thrive in 2012, according to a survey by Gallup: 1, 2, 3

Ranks of increased revenues, an improving economy, and growth or expansion of their business as the top motivations for hiring new employees in 2012: 1, 2, 3

Source: Gallup.

Percentage of U.S. consumers who plan to take the same or more leisure trips in 2012 than they did in 2011, a 5 percent increase from last year, according to the 2012 Travel-Ticker Traveler intentions survey: 86

Ranks of a beach getaway, a big-city getaway and an outdoor adventure on the list of the most-desired vacations in 2012: 1, 2, 3

Source: Travel-Ticker.com.

Percentage of CIOs who said they plan to expand their IT departments in the first quarter of 2012, according to the Robert Half Technology IT Hiring Index and Skills Report: 20

Percentage of CIOs who said it's challenging to find skilled professionals today: 73

Source: Robert Half Technology.

Idle Thought

"We are social creatures to the inmost center of our being. The notion that one can begin anything at all from scratch, free from the past, or unindebted to others, could not conceivably be more wrong." -- Karl Popper, philosopher

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