15 Facts



In this era of fake news, it's good to know that facts still exist. So, I burrowed  through the semi-massive pile of research in the crate beneath my desk and extracted one small fact from 15 different news articles. Obviously, I am easily entertained. Anyway, here's what I found. 


Fact: Even though advertisers seem to target younger consumers, it's the older consumers who make the economy roll. In the first quarter, Americans 55 and older accounted for 41.6 percent of consumer spending, up from 41.2 percent late last year and 33.5 percent in early 2007. Toss in 53- and 54-year-olds, and the Boomer- and-older set comprise about half of all consumption, according to Visa and Moody’s Analytics. (USA Today)


Fact: Only 43 percent of teenagers had a job last summer. That's down from the 72 percent of  Americans age 16 to 19 who worked in July of 1978, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This does not mean teens are lazy, however. Forty-two percent of teenagers were enrolled in classes last summer — almost four times the number of students enrolled in summer school in July 1985. By 2024, teenage workers will make up just 26 percent of the workforce. (USA Today)


Fact: Michigan kids need to get moving, according to a study of youth sports. The study found that while 85 percent of parents think their children would benefit from playing a sport or being active through play, only 13 percent of kids are getting the recommended daily hour of physical activity. The results concluded that Michigan kids are at higher risk for obesity and other health problems. (Detroit Free Press)


Fact: Students attending charter schools run by for-profit organizations perform worse academically than their peers attending charters run by nonprofits, according to The Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University. Michigan has the largest percentage of charter schools run by for-profit companies in the nation. (USA Today)


Fact: The biggest consumers of coal in the U.S., continue to shift to natural gas and renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. In 2016, natural gas became the leading fuel for U.S. electricity generation for the first time, responsible for 33.8 percent of the output, compared with 30.4 percent for coal, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (USA Today)


Fact: DTE, the Detroit-based utility, said: "There doesn't have to be a choice between the health of our environment or the health of our economy; we can achieve both." Central to DTE's announcement is the utility's plan to shutter its entire coal fleet by 2040 and replace the generation with wind and solar power.” (E&E News, eenews.net)


Fact: Impaired driving is the No. 1 cause of criminal death in Canada. This July, the Centers for Disease Control released a report that identified the involvement of alcohol in 34 percent of Canada’s motor vehicle crashes. The high percentage earned Canada the dubious distinction of No. 1 out of 20 countries.  Twenty-seven people die every day in Canada as a result of this. (Ozy.com)


Fact: Rural driving has declined by 12 percent (between 2000 and 2016), according to a University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute study. One possible reason for that Internet access has affected driving rates in these areas. People in rural areas don't necessarily have to drive to buy certain goods any more. (USA Today)


Fact: Many technologies have turned to dust over the last several decades. When Finn Partners asked I.T. decision makers which technologies will rest-in-peace within the next two years, the findings demonstrated the continuing surge in cloud computing and cloud-based services. These soon-to-be-history technologies include desktop computers, hard disk drives, USB flash drives, and desktop virtualization. (finnpartners.com)


Fact: Germany spends far less on health care, 11 percent of gross domestic product compared with 17 percent for the U.S. They also get better results than we do, like a longer life expectancy and lower infant mortality. All of that reduces their cost of doing business. The Germans accomplish this through a government-mandated health system with universal coverage. (USA Today)


Fact: The largest health insurance companies in the United States reaped historically large profits in the first quarter of this year, despite all the noise surrounding the Affordable Care Act's individual marketplaces. Aetna, Anthem, Cigna, Humana and UnitedHealth Group — the big five for-profit insurers — cumulatively collected $4.5 billion in net earnings in the first three months of 2017. That was by far the biggest first-quarter haul for the group since the ACA exchanges went live in 2014. (Axios.com)


Fact: When it comes to popularity, hot sauce couldn't be hotter. Hot sauce sales are expected to hit $1.37 billion this year in this U.S. this year, up 4.5 percent  from $1.31 billion in 2016, according to the market research firm IBISWorld. The firm predicts sales are headed to a $1.65-billion market in the next five years. (USA Today)


Fact: You may think all beverages are equally bad on a plane, but one type of drink is extra irksome to the cabin crew. Diet Coke is difficult to pour in the sky because it foams up more than non-diet drinks. Flight attendants confirm this is a real problem. One American Airlines flight attendant who wrote in a magazine article: “Diet Coke is the most annoying beverage a flight attendant can pour for a passenger in flight, because in the time it takes us to fill one cup, we could have served an entire row of passengers,” (Huff Post) 


Fact: According to the America Kennel Club, the most popular names for male dogs are: Max, Charlie, Buddy, Cooper, Jack, Rocky, Bear, Duke, Toby, and Tucker. For females the names are: Bella, Lucy, Daisy, Lola, Luna, Molly, Sadie, Sophie, Bailey, and Maggie. (akc.org)


Fact: No one names a dog “Fido” any more, but perhaps they should. The name derives from a Latin word that means “to trust, believe, confide in.” In other words it is equivalent to calling a dog “Trusty” or “Faithful.” (PsychologyToday.com) 


Jim Neff is a local columnist. Read Neff zone columns online at CadillacNews.com and Neffzone.com/cadillacnews