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INfact: Business Facts for March 2010

Number of miles of railroad track controlled by Warren Buffett in 2010: 13,000  Number of miles controlled by Cornelius Vanderbilt …

  1. Number of miles of railroad track controlled by Warren Buffett in 2010: 13,000 
  2. Number of miles controlled by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1887: 4,625  
  3. Ratio of Vanderbilt’s wealth to U.S. GDP at the height of his wealth: 1/87  
  4. Ratio of Buffet’s wealth to the U.S. GDP in 2006, when he was the second richest man in America: 1/2968
  5. Minimum number of ski- and ice-related injuries suffered by participants at the most recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland: 28
  6. [1,227 Number of CEOs who left their posts in 2009, the lowest number since 2004]
  7. Number of CEO changes attributed to “resignation”: 355
  8. Number of CEOs who left their jobs in 2009 for new positions in other companies: 144
  9. Number who were removed due to underperformance or firing, respectively: 7, 15
  10. Rank of U.S. among world’s economies in overall economic freedom, according to the 2010 Index of Economic Freedom: 8
  11. Ratio of the GDP of the U.S to the combined GDPs of the first seven countries (Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland and Canada) (2008 data): 4:1
  12. Rank of North Korea: last
  13. Minimum number of luxury hotels and conference centers that have dropped the “R” word from their names in a bid to attract companies reluctant to send employees to “resorts” following AIG’s much criticized sales retreat at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, Calif: 35
  14. Change in U.S. GDP in 2009, the worst single-year performance since 1946: -2.4 percent
  15. Annualized rate of growth of GDP in fourth quarter 2009, the highest of any quarter since 2003: +5.7%
  16. Minimum number of karaoke singers in the Philippines murdered after singing Frank Sinatra’s My Way: 6
  17. Rank of New York State, among 50 states plus Washington, D.C., on an “American Happiness scale” that considered state- by state variances in health, climate, taxes, cost of living, commuting times, crime rates, schools, and other quality-of- life gauges: 51
  18. Rank of Louisiana, Hawaii and Florida, respectively: 1, 2, 3
  19. Percentage of Americans who believe that women are more “intelligent” and “honest” than men, respectively: 38, 50
  20. Percentage who conclude that women make better political leaders: 6
  21. Percentage of the California state budget in 1979 that went to higher education and prisons, respectively: 15, 3
  22. Percentages today: 12, 10
  23. [2 Number of executives at Wall Street banks who have been tried on criminal charges related to the financial crisis]
  24. Number acquitted: 2
  25. Change in sales of Nike golf clubs at golf-course shops and specialty stores in 2009: -11.9%
  26. Average consumer spending on home entertainment and media (excluding land and cell telephones) in 2009: $997.07
  27. Number of passengers who boarded commercial airlines in 2009 for intra-Asia-Pacific travel: 647 million
  28. Number of passengers for intra- North America (U.S. and Canada) travel: 638 million
  29. Number of U.S. airports that have lost commercial air service since 2007: 96
  30. [$3.27 Average savings in overall employee medical costs companies typically realize for each dollar spent on employee wellness]
  31. Factor by which an index of 36 companies that are sponsoring the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver outperformed the broad global market in 2009: 20%
  32. Number of medals Canada won the last time it hosted the Winter Olympics (Calgary, 1988): 0
  33. The 110 medals won by Americans in the 2008 Olympic Games expressed as medals per trillion dollars of GDP: 8
  34. Percentage of the 546,000 restaurants in the U.S. that are single-location businesses: 73
  35. Change in newsstand sales for 500 consumer magazines in the U.S. in the last half of 2009 from a year earlier: -9.1%


Sources: 1–4 Chief Executive research, Fortune; 5 Markus Hehli, Davos Hospital, Wall Street Journal; 6–9 Challenger, Gray & Christmas; 10–12 International Monetary Fund, Heritage Foundation, Wall Street Journal; 13 Wall Street Journal; 14–15 Commerce Department; 16 Wall Street Journal; 17–18 Andrew J. Oswald, University of Warwick, and Stephen Wu, Hamilton College, Science magazine; 19–20 Pew Social and Demographic Trends; 21–22 California Department of Finance; 23–24 Harper’s, New York Times; 25 Golf Datatech LLC; 26 Census Bureau; 27–29 Commerce Department; 30 Health Affairs; 31–33 International Olympic Committee, Bloomberg; 34 National Restaurant Association; 35 Audit Bureau of Circulation

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