TIME

Here’s What a Ticket Does to Your Car Insurance Rate

Car driving through intersection with photo enforced camera radar.
Theo Fitzhugh—Alamy New technology aims to help drivers avoid getting speeding tickets from one of these roadside cameras.

Demographic differences play a big role

Getting a traffic ticket is bad enough, but what’s even worse is getting stuck with higher insurance premiums as a result. Whether or not a ticket will mean those costly extra charges, though, depends on a few things — and they’re factors that are largely out of your control.

In a new survey, InsuranceQuotes.com digs into the demographics of who pays higher insurance premiums after getting a ticket, and it finds that not all drivers are created equal.

First, the good news: Just under one in five drivers will be stuck paying higher premiums after getting a ticket, compared to nearly a third just two years ago.

When it comes to avoiding a premium hike after the fact, being older helps. InsuranceQuotes finds that drivers under the age of 50 are three times likelier to pay higher rates after a ticket than those 50 years old and older. Part of this could be due to how often insurance companies take a peek at your driving record: Younger drivers — who have a reputation for riskier driving — are checked more frequently than older drivers.

But drivers under the age of 30 are actually less likely to get tickets in the first place than those between the ages of 30 and 49, the survey finds.

Wealthier drivers are also more likely to get ticketed. Those with incomes of $75,000 or higher were the most likely income bracket to be ticketed — although they’re less likely that the poorest drivers to see a subsequent rise in their insurance rates.

While 21% of the wealthiest drivers paid higher premiums after a ticket, 24% of those earning under $30,000 a year had to pay higher rates. Drivers who earn between $30,000 to just under $50,000 fare the worst: 27% of those who got tickets saw higher rates.

In terms of income brackets, the sweet spot seems to be the upper-middle income bracket, as just 7% of those who earn between $50,000 and just under $75,000 paid higher premiums after a ticket.

Also, racking up more than one moving violation also increases the likelihood of having to pay more for insurance. While the most common citation, by far, is speeding, other common infractions include driving without a license, not using a seat belt, running a red light or stop sign, or using a cell phone while driving. InsuranceQuotes finds that, among drivers who have been ticketed over the past five years, just over 10% accrued four or more tickets.

TIME

This Is the Retirement Regret Nobody Talks About

This is a big myth about retirement nobody talks about

There is ample evidence that baby boomers are working longer than any generation before them, pushing the “traditional” retirement age of 55 into the 60s, and with many — for personal or financial reasons — working right up to Social Security’s full retirement age of 67 and beyond.

People are living longer, and many older investors suffered losses when the stock market fell in the Great Recession. Today’s workplaces have been adjusting to accommodate for a growing number of older workers, and this trend towards putting off retirement is hailed as a generally positive shift in boomers’ approach to their golden years.

There’s just one thing: A lot of them regret it afterwards.

A new survey of retirees between the ages of 62 and 70 with $100,000 or more in investable assets conducted on behalf of New York Life found that nearly half of respondents wished they had retired earlier. More than half who were 60 or older when they retired regretted waiting so long.

On average, respondents wished they’d retired a full four years earlier than they actually did.

Three out of 10 retirees who had accumulated between $100,000 and $249,999 wished they’d retired sooner. About a quarter of those with between $250,000 and $1 million said the same, and even 20% of millionaires regretted not bowing out of the corporate rat race sooner.

“Investable assets and retirement age impact desire to retire sooner,” says David Cruz, a senior managing director at New York Life.

A lot of workers have been pushing themselves to work later in life, but hindsight makes them second-guess their decisions.

“As people age, they realize that during the time right before they retired they still had as much energy” as they did during their years in the professional world, Cruz says. Then as they age, it dawns on them that they were wasting the potentially best years of their retirement in the office. “They realize that having flexibility during those earliest potential retirement years can be priceless,” he says.

It’s a classic case of not knowing what you’ve got until it’s gone — and it’s something that’s conspicuously absent in most of the conversations we have today about what makes for a satisfying retirement.

“We think that as people age and slow down, they realize how much they would have enjoyed additional years of flexibility when they were younger and more energetic,” Cruz says. “Most people spend a lifetime accumulating retirement assets but don’t know how to turn those assets into a fulfilling retirement.”

TIME

Here’s Why Tuesday Is the Best Day for Job-Seekers

And find out which three hours are your golden window of opportunity

If you’re looking for a new job, you might just find yourself saying, T.G.I.T — thank goodness it’s Tuesday. A new study of more than 270,000 job listings by the site SmartRecruiters.com finds that Tuesday is the most popular day of the week for companies to post jobs, and it’s also the day when companies extend the most job offers to prospective employees.

“Mondays are busy and tend to get away from people before they have a chance to extend offers,” says SmartRecruiters founder and CEO Jerome Ternynck. “By Tuesday things are back to normal and they can focus on extending job offers.” Tuesday also is the most popular day to apply for a job, which means you’ll have more competition, but it still pays to jump on a promising ad as soon as you see it, since almost 60% of applicants submit applications within the first week of a job being posted.

“As a job candidate, take the weekend to get your ducks in a row, update your resume, get your references lined up and watch the job boards for new postings during the beginning of the week, specifically on Tuesdays,” the company advises in a blog post about the findings on its site.

The most popular time of day for companies to post jobs is 11 a.m. “Most hiring managers and recruiters come in and need to take time to catch up or get their days started,” Ternynck says. “By 11 a.m., they’re caught up and can post jobs and they can still catch the group of candidates that might be searching during their lunch break.”

Ambitious candidates who want to get a jump on the competition should hit those job boards before lunch, though. The data shows that 2 p.m. is the most popular time of day for people to apply for jobs, leaving a three-hour window of opportunity for the people who want to get their foot (or resume, as the case may be) in the door first.

After Tuesday, the second-most-popular day for job offers is Thursday. Ternynck explains why this is the case, saying, “I find that employers are eager to make offers before the weekend starts and people are thinking more about weekend plans,” he says. Thursdays also give the job-seeker a weekend to think about the offer before accepting it.

Almost 60% of jobs are posted between Monday and Wednesday, SmartRecruiters finds. In particular, if you’re looking for an office job or corporate position, concentrate your job search to the workweek. “Corporate-type jobs are not as common and typically don’t have the success on weekends that they do earlier in the week,” Ternynck says. If you’re looking for an entry-level or hourly job, though, the weekend might hold some potential for you. “In my experience, the types of jobs being posted and applied for on the weekends are typically hourly positions and hospitality-type positions,” he says.

TIME

Secrets to Answering the World’s Hardest Interview Questions

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Here's what the interviewer really wants to know

Interview questions that throw candidates for a loop like, “Why are manholes round?” have become the stuff of job-hunting legend, with stories from super-competitive tech companies like Google bringing the brainteaser question into the mainstream. Today, a much wider variety of companies use oddball or offbeat questions to try to find out something about a candidate — but if you’re sitting across the desk from a hiring manager, it can be hard to figure out why they’re actually asking about manholes, golf balls or some other puzzling riddle.

CareerBuilder asked hiring managers to spill the craziest question they’ve ever asked in an interview, they asked them to explain what they’re really interested in finding out. Here’s your peek behind the crazy-interview-question curtain— insight that just might be enough to get you hired.

“Define ‘Jell-O’ without using any form of the word ‘gelatin.’” Rather than being about jiggly desserts, this question gives the interviewer a window into your creative problem-solving skills.

“How would you wrangle a herd of cats?” Obviously, cats aren’t cattle. What an interviewer wants to hear when they ask a question like this is what kind of strategic thinking you use to organize and lead.

“Do you believe in life on other planets?” This isn’t the time to talk about your vast knowledge of Star Trek trivia. In this case, an interview is curious to find out whether or not you have an open-minded, “anything is possible” attitude.

“If you didn’t have to work, what would you do?” Please don’t say “sleep in” here. This reveals to an interviewer what really motivates you and what you’re passionate about outside of your 9-5 existence.

“If you were CEO at your last company, what would you change?” This one can seem tricky, because you don’t want to come off sounding like you’re bad-mouthing an employer. The aim of this question is most likely to ascertain how well you can take a step back and look objectively at situations or challenges, and what tactics you would use to improve or solve them.

“If you were a share of stock, why should a company buy you?” This one isn’t really a trick question so much as another way to ask, “Why should we hire you?”

“What superpower would you like to have?” How you answer this one gives the hiring manager a peek into how you view your own strengths, and your weaknesses.

“If you could be a Disney character, which one would you be and why?” This is another one that tips your hand a bit and tells the interviewer how you see yourself. It’s also not a bad way to assess a job-seeker’s sense of humor.

“If you were stranded on an island, which two items would you like to have with you?” Your answer here tells the hiring manager how you prioritize resources and what strategies you use to cope with limited resources.

“If you were trapped in a blender, what would you do to get out?” This question is a multi-tasker. It shows the interviewer how you think on your feet, and demonstrates your creativity as well as your problem-solving skills.

TIME

There’s Scientific Proof the All-Day McMuffin Is a Brilliant Idea

McDonald's
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images A sign stands outside of a McDonald's restaurant on Feb. 9, 2009 in San Francisco, Calif.

People really like the concept

McDonald’s recent announcement that it will begin serving breakfast all day in some stores as a test gave the burger giant a big boost in hungry customers’ minds, a new survey shows.

Fans of the Egg McMuffin and McGriddles were happy when the news broke last week that the fast food purveyor will start serving breakfast all day in some San Diego-area restaurants. According to YouGov BrandIndex, “42% of frequent breakfast eaters… would consider purchasing from McDonald’s the next time they are looking to eat.” That’s higher than Wendy’s, Burger King or Taco Bell.

“McDonald’s has also seen the biggest improvement on customer satisfaction among frequent breakfast diners,” YouGov says. And McDonald’s “buzz score,” which measures consumer perception of what they’ve heard about the brand in the past two weeks, is the highest it’s been since the beginning of the year among adults who eat fast food breakfasts at least once a month. The score ranges from -100 to 100, with zero as a neutral perception. At the beginning of the year, McDonald’s scored a 1. As of yesterday, that number had shot up to 11, passing Burger King’s score of 9 and Taco Bell’s score of 7 (which the research company notes is likely disappointing given how heavily the brand is promoting its breakfast waffle taco).

Other market research also shows that diners are ready to scarf McMuffins all day long. Market research company Technomic found that roughly half of consumers surveyed enjoy eating breakfast food outside of morning hours. “Demand is apparently robust for all-day breakfast… all-day breakfast could be a much-needed win,” the company said in a blog post Monday. And market research firm Mintel found that sales of breakfast meat and eggs went up by 300% between 2010 and 2013, while breakfast sales at fast food and so-called “fast casual” restaurant chains went up by 5% in 2013 alone.

Wall Street likes the idea, too — not because analysts necessarily crave the chain’s hash browns, but because rivals like Taco Bell have noticed that breakfast is a bright spot in an otherwise lukewarm fast-food market, and have been ramping up their breakfast efforts accordingly. “The customer demand is there” Janney Capital Markets analyst Mark Kalinowski wrote in a note to investors.

TIME

Why More Access to Credit Is Not a Good Thing

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It's basically like getting the keys to a race car we don't know how to drive

According to a recent survey from the New York Fed, Americans today feel pretty good about their ability to get credit. The percentage of people applying for credit cards ticked up over the last quarter, and it’s up about three percentage points since October 2013, while the percentages of rejected credit card applications and involuntary account closures have fallen. The percentage of people rejected when they ask for a credit limit increase has fallen even more sharply; as of last quarter, more than 75% of people who asked for increases got them.

And we think the good times are going to keep rolling. The same Fed survey found that more people expect to ask for credit limit increases — and get them — over the next 12 months. Abut 12% of survey respondents expect to apply for credit cards in the next year, a jump of about four percentage points over the previous quarter.

This would be all well and good, except for one tiny detail: We really have no idea what we’re doing when it comes to credit, and being clueless can cost us big bucks.

The 2015 Chase Slate Credit Survey finds that about 40% of us have never checked our credit scores, and people in this camp have a fuzzy grasp of what a “good” credit score entails. People who have never checked their credit think, on average, a score of 668 is good (it’s really not terrific).

Even among the people who have checked, they think a score of 719 is good — which is better, but still not where you need to be if you want to get the best rates. With a score like that, you’ll probably be able to get credit, but you might pay more, and these survey results indicate that many of us might not even realize we could be doing better and saving money in the process.

Chase also shows that we’re overconfident about our credit smarts in other ways. While almost 90% of people who say they’re in a “poor financial situation” have a good handle on what constitutes a good credit score, only about 80% of those who think they’re in good shape, credit-wise, know what that really means.

A survey by credit bureau TransUnion finds a similar knowledge gap: More than two in five of the people in its survey who checked their credit in the last month think your income is included in a credit report, and almost half of those who have checked their score in the last year think getting a raise automatically boosts your score. (Neither is true.)

And while we’ve got great intentions, we don’t always follow through: Although two-thirds of respondents to the Chase survey say they want to improve their credit over the next year, only about a third of respondents say they have a plan to do so, and more than one in five say they’ve never lifted a finger to improve their credit. More worrisome: A majority of people surveyed don’t even know paying bills on time is the top factor that contributes to your credit score.

Sometimes, this lack of knowledge can prevent us from educating ourselves further: 20% of respondents in TransUnion’s survey who checked their score in the last year think doing so lowered their score, which could keep them from checking it more frequently. In reality, checking your own score doesn’t hurt it; it’s only when a lender makes an inquiry that your score takes a small hit.

So, while lenders are happy to keep giving America credit and borrowers are eager to take it, many of us are doing so without even a basic grasp of how the system works. This isn’t blissful ignorance; this is potentially expensive ignorance, and the worst part is many people don’t know how or why to improve their credit.

 

TIME Careers & Workplace

There’s Actually a Secret to Getting a Raise—And This Is It

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And, no, it's not switch careers

It’s no surprise that working in a big city like New York, Chicago or Los Angeles means you might earn more, but as it turns out, where you live can affect how much you earn pretty much anywhere in the country. In other words, if you’re not happy with what you make, think about switching cities rather than careers.

TheLadders.com crunched the numbers to see just how big of a difference location can make in your earnings potential. It identified 21 jobs with salary gaps of 98% or higher as well as the highest- and lowest-paying average salaries by city.

The top-paying location for nine of the 21 jobs is San Francisco, and three others are in two more California cities, Monterey and Sacramento. “San Francisco’s booming technology sector has created an unmet demand for particular skill sets, forcing companies to compete for these scarce talent resource and pushing up top tier salaries,” says Shankar Mishra, vice president of data science at TheLadders.

San Francisco is also a notoriously expensive place to live, of course. Longtime residents have protested what they see as an intrusion by big tech companies like Google pushing rents higher and clogging the streets with private shuttle buses for employees.

Many of the jobs with the biggest gaps are in marketing or communications, but almost every field turns up somewhere on the list, from tech to law to financial services to healthcare. In fact, a technology job tops the list. Information security officer jobs have the biggest gap identified by TheLadders at 139%. Workers in Boston make an average of $113,000, but people doing the same kind of job in Miami only pull down an average of $47,000.

In terms of dollars, the job with the biggest gap — a whopping $91,000 — is an enterprise account manager. People with this job make an average of $168,000 in Baltimore, but earn a comparatively paltry $77,000 in Milwaukee. (It’s kind of a vague title, but generally, it refers to a professional who sells and manages telecommunications or technology services to corporate clients.)

Once again, resurgent tech boom is a driving force behind this trend, Mishra says. “Big players in the technology industry are influencing the top end of salaries quite a bit, and the impacts aren’t just on tech-specific roles, but for other functions too,” he says.

For instance, this is why so many jobs in marketing and communications show up with big variations in pay and command much higher salaries in cities with strong high-tech sectors like San Francisco and the Silicon Valley area.

“Demand for most of the top-paying jobs in this field is being driven by the technology sector,” Mishra says. “To contrast, demand for these kinds of jobs is much lower in cities like Little Rock or Charleston,” he says. Those two Southern cities had the lowest average salaries for director of marketing and director of communications positions, respectively.

Two legal jobs — associate general counsel and associate attorney — made the list, and the results are similar. These positions pull down top salaries in the nation’s capital, while the lowest pay for both is in Louisville.

“The excess of lawyers combined with a lack of demand in Louisville has suppress their median salaries,” Mishra says. “The presence of the federal government in D.C. generates enough demand to keep pushing the top end of salaries in this field even higher.”

TIME

5 Money Habits of the Filthy Rich You Can Learn Now

How to save and invest your way to seven figures

Think it’s impossible to save a million bucks? It’s not. Fidelity Investments took a look at the 401(k) portfolios of its clients to see if those in the million-dollar-plus club have characteristics that make them stand out from the crowd.

Surprisingly, being super-rich wasn’t one of them. Although the average annual earnings of people with more than $1 million in their 401(k) was a substantial $359,000, Fidelity found that a number of these people had reported earnings of under $150,000.

As of the end of last year, more than 72,000 Fidelity clients had 401(k)s with more than $1 million in them — that’s more than double the number who had reached that monetary milestone just two years ago. Sure, investors across the board have benefitted from the stock market’s recovery, but the most retirement-ready people also displayed some specific saving and investing habits that helped them reach their goals.

They go slow and steady. “They really took a long term approach… took most of their careers to get there,” says Fidelity retirement expert Jeanne Thompson. The average age of Fidelity’s 401(k) millionaires is just under 60, and have been in the workforce for 30 years. It’s also worth noting that many of the people with the healthiest nest eggs also started saving for retirement early. “It’s not like it happened overnight,” Thompson says.

They max out their contributions. Fidelity found that million-dollar investors contribute roughly 14% of their income towards their 401(k)s — $21,4000 a year, on average. Now, this is above the annual amount workers under 50 are allowed to contribute — those workers are capped at contributing $18,000 a year in 2015 — but the average age of Fidelity’s million-plus 401(k) clients skews about 10 years higher than that. In other words, the most aggressive retirement savers seem to ramp up their contributions once they get the legal go-ahead to sock away more. By contrast, those with portfolios under $1 million contribute only $6,050 a year.

They don’t rely on target date funds. Target date funds have been pitched as a kind of “set it and forget it” option for investors, but a peek into the portfolios of the people who accrued $1 million or more shows that they don’t rely on them entirely or even primarily. As of the end of 2014, about 40% of these investors’ portfolios is in domestic equities, another 12% is in company stock and 6% is in foreign equities, on average. Only 10% of the average portfolio is allotted to target date funds.

They stay in equities. “To some extent, if you’re invested in cash you’re only going to have what you put in,” Thompson says. “Many people may be in retirement for 30 years or more,” she points out, so people might want to reevaluate if or when switching to a more conservative allocation is right for them. “As people are working longer and living longer, many will hold higher equity allocations,” she says. “You still have 30 years your money has to last…If you go too conservative too early you might not keep up with inflation.” On average, about three-quarters of the holdings of millionaire 401(k) clients are in equities — and remember, these are investors with an average age of around 60.

They don’t panic. “The key is when the markets go down not to panic,” Thompson says. Although it can be scary watching those numbers go down, selling at a loss only makes it harder to recover when the market eventually recovers. “They did bounce back, and so they’re were able, as equities rose, to ride the upswing,” Thompson says.

TIME

5 Networking Mistakes That Keep You From Getting Ahead

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Every single roundup of career advice out there talks about the importance of networking. Less talked-about but just as important is doing it correctly. You might think you’re doing all the right things by hanging out near the boss at the sales retreat or passing out your business card to everybody you meet at the trade show reception — but in reality, bad networking technique can do as much damage to your career as not networking at all.

Here are some common pitfalls experts warn against falling into.

Relying on online social networks. Yes, LinkedIn and its ilk can be a great way to further your network, but the point of networking is to actually, you know, meet people. James Jeffries, director of career development at Bard College at Simon’s Rock, says this is a mistake young workers especially need to be conscious of, since they grew up having simultaneous online and real-life relationships. “As networking becomes synonymous with online networking… they can neglect the importance of actually meeting up with people for coffee, making a phone call, or showing up at an event. So far online connections have not supplanted these traditional interactions,” he says.

Staying in your comfort zone. Mingling with others at corporate, industry or alumni functions isn’t going to be nearly as effective if you just hang out with people you know. Yes, it’s a good idea to catch up with acquaintances, but unless you push yourself out of your comfort zone and meet new people, you’re limiting the effectiveness of your networking, says Amanda Augustine, job search expert at mobile career network TheLadders. “Casual networking events at local watering holes can quickly turn into mini-reunions with the friends you already see on a regular basis,” she says in a post on the company’s blog. Augustine says you should set a goal of talking to three new people at every event you attend. “They have the most potential to expand your network the furthest,” she says.

Doing the business-card “drive-by.” Some people take the other extreme when it comes to networking. They’re so determined to meet as many new people as possible that they have it down to a science: A quick introduction, handshake and then they’re pushing their business card into the person’s palm and moving on before the other person can catch their breath. “Networking is not a race to distribute as many business cards or get as many cards as possible,” career coach Yvonne Ruke Akpoveta advises on the blog of her consulting firm, OliveBlue. To be effective, networking needs to be about relationship building, not card collecting. It’s not and will never be just a numbers game.

Focusing on what’s in it for you. “Networking can be described as the process of interacting or engaging in communication with others for mutual assistance or support,” Akpoveta says. The mutual part is key here. If you’re always asking what somebody can do for you, it’s going to get old quick. Find out what the other person needs or is interested in, and make that happen. “We need to change our mindset from focusing on not just what we can get, but to also what we can give,” Akpoveta says. If you’re known as a person who can deliver, people are more likely to remember you — and more likely to reciprocate when you’re the one asking for a favor or a referral.

Not following up. This sounds like a no-brainer, but how many of us have been rifling through a desk drawer and stumbled across the business card of someone who would make a great contact — if only you’d emailed them back when you met them months ago. “Think of each networking event as a speed dating exercise,” Augustine says. “If you get someone’s phone number but never call them afterwards, the evening was a waste.” Shoot off a quick note following your meeting. It doesn’t have to be elaborate: Just say, “Hi, it was great meeting you. I wanted to make sure you had my contact info, too, because I’d like to stay in touch.” Even a brief email can get the ball rolling.

TIME

These States Have the Most Jobs For College Grads

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You'll never guess which little states hold the biggest opportunities

New college grads looking for work online have the best shot at getting jobs in Massachusetts and Delaware, a new study finds.

Since as many as 90% of jobs that require a bachelor’s degree or higher are advertised online, Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce took a comprehensive look at online job listings around the country to figure out where the jobs are, along with what types of jobs they are.

As might be expected, large states with big populations — notably, California, Texas, and New York — have the most online job ads, but this doesn’t tell the whole story. Georgetown did a deeper dive into the data to see which states have the most online job ads relative to the number of working, college-educated residents, providing a more accurate measure of the labor market for bachelor’s degree-holders in each state. “Strong job growth doesn’t necessarily translate into good job prospects [because] job growth also tends to bring increased competition,” the report points out.

When the numbers are crunched in a way that takes into account the number of workers, a clearer picture of job opportunities emerges: Massachusetts, Delaware, Washington state, Colorado and Alaska have the highest number of ads seeking candidates with bachelor’s degrees or higher per worker, respectively. Higher still is the nation’s capital: Washington, D.C. has three times the national average of online job ads relative to workers with college degrees. “The college-educated job seeker who is willing to move to a state with a high concentration of job ads per worker has a greater likelihood of landing a job than remaining in or moving to states with fewer job ads per worker,” the report says.

West Virginia residents with college degrees, in particular, might want to think about relocating: This state has the weakest online job market, followed by (respectively) Rhode Island, South Carolina, Mississippi and Hawaii. The good news is that the states with markets higher than the national average are geographically disparate, with most regions represented.

When it comes to the kinds of jobs employers looking for college grads are trying hardest to fill, the story is the same as it’s been since the recovery in the labor market began. “We found that two large occupational clusters – managerial and professional office and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) – dominate the online college labor market, accounting for three out of every five online job ads,” the report says. Employers in the industries of consulting, business, financial and healthcare services are responsible for more than half of all the online job postings seeking college-educated candidates, while STEM jobs have more than three available job postings for every worker, more than twice as many as any other field. The states that saw the biggest growth in STEM jobs between 2010 and 2013 are Wyoming, Missouri and Wisconsin, and relative to the number of college-educated workers, Georgetown says Delaware, Massachusetts, and New York offer the best job prospects for college grads with STEM degrees.

 

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