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Number of 401(k) Millionaires Surges

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Good news for many who are saving for retirement: During the second quarter, 168,000 people with 401(k)s managed by Fidelity Investments were millionaires, having at least $1 million in their accounts, per a press release. That’s a record high, USA Today reports. It’s also up 41% from last year’s number of 119,000, CNBC reports. “The stock market’s performance over the past several years has definitely helped retirement savers, but now would be a good time for investors to take a moment and make sure they are doing their part to meet their retirement goals,“ says a Fidelity exec in a statement. Fidelity is one of the US’ largest administrators of workplace retirement accounts.

The average 401(k) contribution rate, not counting employer match, is 8.6%, a nearly 10-year high; the average 401(k) balance is $104,000, just below 2017’s all-time high of $104,300. As for individual retirement accounts, there are another 155,849 IRA millionaires whose accounts are managed by Fidelity; the average IRA balance is $106,900, an almost 7% increase from a year ago. Fidelity notes the number of 18-to-34-year-olds contributing to an individual retirement account has increased 19% compared to a year ago.

State Employment and Unemployment (Monthly)

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Unemployment rates were lower in July in 11 states, higher in 2 states, and stable in 37 states and the District of Columbia, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Ten states had jobless rate decreases from a year earlier and 40 states and the District had little or no change. The national unemployment rate edged down by 0.1 percentage point from June to 3.9 percent and was 0.4 point lower than in July 2017.

Nonfarm payroll employment increased in 6 states in July 2018, decreased in 1 state, and was essentially unchanged in 43 states and the District of Columbia. Over the year, 34 states added nonfarm payroll jobs and 16 states and the District were essentially unchanged.


Unemployment

Hawaii had the lowest unemployment rate in July, 2.1 percent. The rate in Oregon (3.9 percent) set a new series low. (All state series begin in 1976.) Alaska had the highest jobless rate, 6.9 percent. In total, 15 states had unemployment rates lower than the U.S. figure of 3.9 percent, 10 states and the District of Columbia had higher rates, and 25 states had rates that were not appreciably different from that of the nation.

In July, 11 states had unemployment rate decreases, the largest of which were in Alaska, Georgia, New Mexico, New York, and South Carolina (-0.2 percentage point each). Two states had over-the-month rate increases: Louisiana (+0.2 percentage point) and Maine (+0.1 point). The remaining 37 states and the District of Columbia had jobless rates that were not notably different from those of a month earlier, though some had changes that were at least as large numerically as the significant changes.

Ten states had unemployment rate changes from July 2017, all of which were decreases. The largest decline occurred in New Mexico (-1.4 percentage points).


Nonfarm Payroll Employment

Six states had over-the-month increases in nonfarm payroll employment in July 2018. The largest increases occurred in California (+46,700), Florida (+27,400), and New Jersey (+13,000). In percentage terms, the largest increase occurred in Nevada (+0.7 percent), followed by Minnesota and Washington (+0.4 percent each). Vermont lost jobs over the month (-2,200, or -0.7 percent).

Thirty-four states had over-the-year increases in nonfarm payroll employment in July. The largest job gains occurred in Texas (+377,100), California (+332,700), and Florida (+210,600). The largest percentage gain occurred in Utah (+3.5 percent), followed by Idaho and Nevada (+3.4 percent each).

U.S. Market Weekly Summary – Week Ending 08.17.2018

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The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.6% this week, with the telecommunications and consumer-staples sectors leading to the upside while the energy and materials sectors weighed amid declines in related commodities.

The market benchmark ended the week at 2850.13, up from last week’s closing level of 2,833.28. The weekly gain came as many sectors were boosted throughout the week by better-than-expected quarterly results and guidance. Stocks also got a boost late Friday as officials for the U.S. and China said the nations are planning talks to try to end their trade conflicts by November.

However, the energy and materials sectors still ended the week in the red as oil and copper prices fell on fears of an economic crisis in Turkey. Slight weekly declines were also recorded by the consumer-discretionary and technology sectors.

The telecommunications sector posted the largest weekly percentage gain, up 3.7%. CenturyLink (CTL) jumped 9.8% this week as investors and analysts continued to react positively to the networking company’s report last week of better-than-expected Q2 adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and increased guidance for 2018 adjusted EBITDA. RBC raised its price target on the shares this week to $27 each from $22.

The consumer-staples sector had the second-largest percentage weekly increase, up 3.2%. Its climb came as Walmart (WMT) shares rose 8.5% on the week amid the big-box retailer’s report of better-than-expected fiscal Q2 results and a boost to its fiscal-year guidance.

The energy sector’s 3.6% drop came as crude-oil futures fell this week amid declines in the Turkish lira, a stronger dollar, and an unexpected increase in U.S. crude inventories. Exxon Mobil (XOM) shares, which were also hit by a US district court judge’s ruling that the company must face a lawsuit over climate-change accounting, slipped 1.5% on the week.

The materials sector fell 0.5% as copper futures entered bear-market territory earlier this week for the first time since November 2016. Shares of Freeport-McMoRan (FCX), which is the world’s largest publicly traded copper producer, tumbled 7.5% this week.

She Applied for Work at a Job Fair. She Didn’t See the Camera

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Ja’Naea Modest thought she’d been stealthy. On her lunch break from work Friday, the 33-year-old from Champaign, Ill., switched outfits, headed to a job fair, and filled out an application, thinking she needed a change from her current post at a nonprofit serving people with disabilities. “I came back, changed my clothes, and did the rest of my shift,“ she tells BuzzFeed. It wasn’t until she spotted WCIA’s late-afternoon news that she realized she’d been, well, less than covert. “So I didn’t want my current job to know I was looking for another job. Why the damn news filmed me at the job fair,“ she captioned a snapshot of her three-second TV cameo, shared 47,000 times since it was uploaded to Facebook, per CBS Chicago.

“They did a whole story on the job fair and at some point they zoomed in on me doing the application,“ Modest, who’s also a DJ, tells BuzzFeed, adding she had no idea she’d been filmed. She says she decided to broadcast her misfortune, which was then widely shared on Twitter and Reddit, because the whole town knew about her job search by that point. Her employer knows now, too, though no “upper reps” have “come to see or talk to me,“ Modest says. Then again, “I’m not trying to see them. I’m avoiding everyone like the plague.“ Still, she hopes her newfound fame will work in her favor. “Y’all put me on TV, put me on blast,“ but “everything happens for a reason ... that’s why I’m not mad at you,“ she tells a WCIA reporter in a Facebook video.

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