Thursday Numbers

The Western Word is coming to you, STILL coronavirus free, from deep inside an underground bunker in Montana. The bunker also serves as the worldwide headquarters for The Western Word blog!

Quote of the day…

I keep hearing it takes a village to raise a child. Do they just show up or is there a number to call? – Unknown

Welcome to “Thursday Numbers!” In case you’re a first-time visitor, this is the weekly column where I take a look at the numbers that are in the news (in descending order) and provide commentary sometimes sprinkled with sarcasm and humor.

This week’s topics include airlines & coronavirus, U.S. House & coronavirus, Great Falls Public Schools, Mike Bloomberg, U.S. Census Bureau, unemployment claims, Nik Wallenda, gas prices, and much more!


The coronavirus epidemic could rob passenger airlines of up to $113 billion in revenue this year, an industry body warned on Thursday, more than three times a projection it made just two weeks ago as the virus continues to spread around the world. (Reuters)


The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved on Wednesday an $8.3 billion bill to combat the spread of the new coronavirus and develop vaccines for the highly contagious disease, sending it to the Senate for final passage. (Reuters)

It’s amazing what can be accomplished in Washington, D.C. when they work together – like overwhelmingly agreeing to spend billions…


The Great Falls Public Schools kicked off their levy campaign yesterday. Over the last decade, the school district has experienced nearly $10 million in budget cuts which have resulted in the loss of over 100 educators. (GF Tribune)

All Great Falls residents should join me in supporting the school levy this May.


Presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg ended his campaign yesterday. The New York billionaire laid out roughly $550 million in just over three months of campaigning, all to get a paltry 44 delegates. That record total equals roughly $4.8 million per delegate. (NY Post)

Just think of all the good that could be done with $550 million…


The U.S. Census Bureau said Wednesday that it had attracted more than 2.6 million applicants for jobs conducting the 2020 count in the face of challenges posed by a tight labor market. The bureau had set a Tuesday deadline to draw 2.67 million applicants as it seeks to fill up to 500,000 positions for temporary workers. (WSJ)

Make sure you are counted!


In the week ending February 29, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial unemployment claims was 216,000, a decrease of 3,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 219,000. The 4-week moving average was 213,000, an increase of 3,250 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 209,750. (


Nik Wallenda managed to make a 1,800-foot trek across the mouth of the volcano, tightrope walking 2,000 feet above the deadly lava and through strong winds. It was broadcast live on ABC Wednesday night. He was tethered. (TMZ)

It only took him about 30 minutes, but the show aired for two hours.


That’s the national average for gas prices as of this morning. Montana is $2.41. GasBuddy says gas in Great Falls, MT, is around, $2.29. (AAA)

Road trip!