Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For August 24, 2014

Percentage of Americans who believe that Congress has been working hard enough to deserve its August recess, according to the Economist/YouGov poll: 9

Last year, number of weeks of vacation that Americans said a president deserves -- more than the average American worker: 3

This year, number of weeks of August vacation that Americans say Barack Obama has worked hard enough to deserve: 1

Source: YouGov.

Number of children and adults enrolled in school throughout the country in October 2012 from nursery school to college, according to the U.S. Census Bureau: 78 million

Percentage of the entire population age 3 and older that this represents: 26.4

Number of school-age children (ages 5 to 17) who spoke a language other than English at home in 2012: 12 million

Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

Average amount that parents spend on school-related costs throughout the year per family, according to a survey conducted by RetailMeNot and The Omnibus Co.: $659

Percentage of parents who spend less on themselves due to the cost of their child's education: 75

Ranks of clothing or shoes, dining out and vacations on the list of the top items parents have cut back on for themselves: 1, 2, 3

Source: RetailMeNot.com.

Percentage of employees who said being courteous to co-workers can greatly accelerate advancement in a person's career prospects, according to an Accountemps Survey: 44

Ranks of "using a speakerphone or talking loudly on the phone," "loitering or talking around a colleague's desk," "eating foods that have strong odors," and "keeping a messy or cluttered workspace" on the list of the biggest breaches of workplace etiquette in an open office environment: 1, 2, 3, 4

Source: Accountemps.

Amount that the average summer vacationer planned to spend on a family vacation this year, up approximately $139 from 2013, according to an Ipsos Public Affairs poll conducted on behalf of Allianz Global Assistance: $1,894

With more people already intending to travel, amount the increase in spending translates to for the American travel and tourism economy this year: $18 billion

Source: Ipsos Public Affairs.

Percentage of people who have a good friend they have met online, but never in person, according to Skout's International Friendship Day survey: 76

Percentage of women who say they have a good friend they have met online: 83

Percentage of men who say the same: 73

Source: Skout.

In 2013, number of travelers who hit the road for Labor Day, the highest number in five years, according to a report by the American Automobile Association: 34.1 million

In 2014, percentage rise in the demand for air tickets over Labor Day weekend, with the majority of travelers departing on Friday, Aug. 29, according to booking data from Expedia.com: 20

Source: Expedia.

Percentage of buyers who say they will shop together with their student in-store, according to the results of Baynote's Back-to-School shopper behavior survey: 70

Percentage of respondents who said their student's wish list is influential in the purchasing process, second only to school-supplied lists: 85

Source: Baynote.

As a result of recent political turmoil, percentage of Americans who said they are afraid to fly internationally, according to a poll conducted for TheStreet by GfK1: 36

Source: TheStreet Inc.

Average spending on required course materials for students during the 2013-14 academic year, according to the Student Watch Spring 2014 survey by OnCampus Research: $638

Approximate number of college stores across the U.S. that utilize price comparison software that all students can take advantage of when buying new or used books: 400

Source: National Association of College Stores.

Idle Thought

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." -- Galileo

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