Figuratively Speaking by John MacIntyre

Figuratively Speaking For July 05, 2015

Estimated number of vacation days that go unused by Americans every year, according to the U.S. Travel Association: 429 million

Percentage of travel agent customers who said they use a travel adviser because it just makes things easier, according to a study commissioned by the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA): 72

Percentage of the respondents using a travel agent who expect to use one again: 92

Source: American Society of Travel Agents.

Percentage of Americans who describe themselves as careful drivers, according to a survey by Experian: 97

Percentage who have admitted to speeding: 61

Percentage who say they have followed too closely: 29

Percentage who have yelled a profanity: 26

Source: Experian Automotive.

Percentage of employees who have recently experienced an employer change, such as a leadership turnover, extensive layoffs, merger/acquisition, financial slowdown, etc., according to a survey by Weber Shandwick: 84

Percentage of employees who can describe what their employer does: 42

Percentage who can describe what its goals are: 37

Source: Weber Shandwick.

Nationally, amount cheaper a gallon of gas is today than it was this time last year, according to research by the National Association of Convenience Stores: $1

Estimated amount lower gas prices will save the average American family in fuel costs over 2015, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration: $675

Percentage of Americans who say they are spending this extra money, according to the NACS poll: 44

Source: National Association of Convenience Stores.

Percentage of employees in U.S. organizations who believe that feedback is important to career development, according to a survey conducted by Eagle Hill Consulting: 87

Percentage who indicate that they feel valued when someone takes the time to provide feedback on their work: 85

Percentage of respondents who reported that their work environment supports a culture of feedback: 60

Source: Eagle Hill Consulting.

Percentage of employees who say cellphones/text is the biggest distraction at work, according to a survey by CareerBuilder: 52

Percentage who said the Internet: 42

Percentage who say it compromised the quality of work: 45

Percentage who said it lowered morale because other workers had to pick up the slack: 30

Source: CareerBuilder.com.

Rank of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, with a personal fortune totaling nearly $86 billion, on Wealth-X's list of the world's top 25 richest self-made billionaires: 1

Number of spots claimed by Americans on the Wealth-X list: 14

Combined wealth of the 14 Americans on that list -- greater than the GDP of Norway: $14.2 billion

Source: Wealth-X.

Estimated percentage of the U.S. population with a bachelor's degree or higher, in contrast to U.S. politicians, almost all of whom have a bachelor's degree or higher, according to an Ipsos poll: 33

Percentage of the general U.S. population with a bachelor's degree from an Ivy League school vs. 11 percent of U.S. office holders: 1

Source: Ipsos CJ.

Date the Continental Congress approved the Declaration of Independence, setting the 13 colonies on the road to freedom as a sovereign nation: July 4, 1776

In July 1776, estimated number of people living in the newly independent nation: 2.5 million

The nation's estimated population on this July Fourth: 318.4 million

Source: Census Bureau.

Percentage of parents who give their kids some say in where they want to go on vacation, according to a survey by HomeAway: 85

Percentage of parents who say spending quality time together is the most important part of vacation: 41

Percentage who said creating lasting memories: 27

Percentage who said exploring new cultures and places: 15

Source: Home Away.

Idle Thought

"The belief in the possibility of a short, decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions." -- Robert Lynd, writer

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