Money Minute: Job Market Improves for College Grads

The job market for college grads is improving.

College seniors about to receive their degrees are finding the job market a bit less scary than it's been in recent years. But many are still settling for jobs, often low paying positions, outside of their area of study. A government report shows the unemployment rate college grads was 10.9 percent last year. That's down from 13.3 percent in 2012 and the lowest rate since 2007.

These newly minted grads are joining a workforce that's far from happy. An annual survey by the American Psychological Association finds a majority of workers aren't satisfied with their professional growth opportunities. Many workers are also angry that their employers made them sacrifice during tough times, but have not shared their big gains in recent years. The Wall Street Journal is the first to report on this survey.

%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%JetBlue Airways (JBLU) pilots have voted to unionize, after two previous efforts to do so were voted down. This time the vote was overwhelming, even though the JetBlue pilots earn about the same as their counterparts at the major carriers. The company recently warned that unionization could increase operating expenses.

The Dow and the S&P are now within one percent of their all-time highs. But the S&P's six session win streak is once again raising concerns that the market is near a top.

A study released this week by shows a large majority of Americans don't trust the stock market -- apparently scarred by the market collapses in 2000 and 2008. Many of those investors are sticking with conservative investments like cash and bonds -- which have significantly underperformed stocks over the past few years.

The Dow Jones industrial average (^DJI) rose 65 points yesterday, the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^GPSC) gained 7, and the Nasdaq composite (^IXIC) jumped 40 points.

Finally, the NBA's Golden State Warriors plan to build what the team calls a "state of the art sports and entertainment center" in downtown San Francisco. It purchased the land from

-Produced by Drew Trachtenberg.

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Money Minute: Job Market Improves for College Grads
"Your daily habits and routines are the reason you got into this mess," writes Trent Hamm, founder of "Spend some time thinking about how you spend money each day, each week and each month." Do you really need your daily latte? Can you bring your lunch to work instead of buying it four times a week? Ask yourself: What can I change without sacrificing my lifestyle too much? 
Remove all credit cards from your wallet and leave them at home when you go shopping, advises WiseBread contributor Sabah Karimi. “Even if you earn cash back or other rewards with credit card purchases, stop spending with your credit cards until you have your finances under control,” she writes.
If you do a lot of online shopping at one retailer, you may have stored your credit card information on the site to make the checkout process easier. But that also makes it easier to charge items you don't need. So clear that information. "If you’re paying for a recurring service, use a debit card issued from a major credit card service linked to your checking account," Hamm writes.  
Reward yourself when you reach debt payoff goals. "The only way to completely pay off your credit card debt is to keep at it, and to do that, you must keep yourself motivated," Bakke writes. Just make sure to reward yourself within reason. For example, instead of a weeklong vacation, plan a weekend camping trip. "If you aim to reduce your credit card debt from $10,000 to $5,000 in two months," Bakke writes, "give yourself more than a pat on the back." 
“Establish a budget,” writes Money Crashers contributor David Bakke. “If you don't scale back your spending, you'll dig yourself into a deeper hole." You can use personal finance tools like, or make your own Excel spreadsheet that includes your monthly income and expenses. Then scrutinize those budget categories to see where you can cut costs.    
Sort your credit card interest rates from highest to lowest, then tackle the card with the highest rate first. "By paying off the balance with the highest interest first, you increase your payment on the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate while continuing to make the minimum payment on the rest of your credit cards," writes spokeswoman Hitha Prabhakar.
To make a dent in your debt, you need to pay more than the minimum balance on your credit card statements each month. "Paying the minimum -– usually 2 to 3 percent of the outstanding balance -– only prolongs a debt payoff strategy," Prabhakar writes. "Strengthen your commitment to pay everything off by making weekly, instead of monthly, payments." Or if your minimum payment is $100, try doubling it and paying off $200 or more. 
If you have a high-interest card with a balance that you’re confident you can pay off in a few months, Hamm recommends moving the debt to a card that offers a zero-interest balance transfer. "You’ll need to pay off the debt before the balance transfer expires, or else you’re often hit with a much higher interest rate," he warns. "If you do it carefully, you can save hundreds on interest this way."
Have any birthday gifts or old wedding presents collecting dust in your closet? Look for items you can sell on eBay or Craigslist. "Do some research to make sure you list these items at a fair and reasonable price," Karimi writes. “Take quality photos, and write an attention-grabbing headline and description to sell the item as quickly as possible." Any profits from sales should go toward your debt. 
If you receive a job bonus around the holidays or during the year, allocate that money toward your debt payoff plan. "Avoid the temptation to spend that bonus on a vacation or other luxury purchase," Karimi writes. It’s more important to fix your financial situation than own the latest designer bag.
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