TIME

America’s Most Deeply Indebted Generation Will Surprise You

Cash Money Dollars
Chris Clor—Getty Images

The one generation that's taken out way more debt and is reducing it at a slower pace than any other

fortunelogo-blue
This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

By Chris Matthews

Millennials may owe more in student loans than any American generation, but their Generation X elders are actually the most in debt.

That’s according to a study released Wednesday by Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis economists William Emmons and Bryan Noeth. The study showed that the single most indebted birth cohort in the nation are 44 year olds, who owe on average $142,077, most of that composed of mortgage debt.

This figure is actually a marked improvement, as every generation, including Generation X, has made progress paying down or discharging debt. For its part, Gen X has reduced what it owes by between 10% and 15% since 2008. But even on this score, they were beaten out by the much-maligned Millennial generation. These folks, also known as Generation Y, reduced debt even more aggressively than Gen Xers, discharging or paying down upwards of 25% of what they owed in 2008. Emmons and Noeth point out that “millennials were very young during the housing boom and presumably had more limited access to borrowing than members of Gen X.”

For the rest of the story, please go to Fortune.com.

TIME

Why Used iPhones Are Flooding the Market

Here's the reason why

fortunelogo-blue
This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

By Philip Elmer-DeWitt

gazelle

The market for used iPhones is a funny thing.

It hums along steadily most of the year until, just before the launch — or, more accurately, the expected launch — of a new model, things go nuts.

This year, more than ever. A few data points:

  • According to a survey by Hanover Research, an unprecedented 48% of iPhone owners plan to trade up to whatever Apple has up its sleeve.
  • Gazelle, a leading trade-in site, saw iPhone offers peak at five per second one day last week before settling down to two per second, up 50% from last year.
  • Another site, NextWorth, saw average daily iPhone traffic jump 350% from the previous month. “That’s up from a lift of 182% last year, or almost two times the acceleration,” NextWorth’s Jeff Trachsel told Computerworld. “There’s tremendous pent-up demand for a larger iPhone.”

For the rest of the story, please go to Fortune.com.

TIME Advertising

The Truth About Controversial Underwear Ad

fortunelogo-blue
This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

By Caroline Fairchild

Dear Kate, an underwear company that specializes in “leak-free lingerie,” made headlines last week for a controversial ad campaign that some say perpetuates sexism in Silicon Valley. Rather than use professional models to showcase the company’s newest product line, Dear Kate featured female tech executives wearing nothing but their underwear. In an interview with Fortune, company founder Julie Sygiel said the move was intended to empower women in tech and bring awareness to the many women who are working in the field.

Edited excerpts:

How did you come up with the idea for the campaign?

We started last November featuring women in our campaigns who we admire because of who they are and what they do, not because of what they look like. I like to look at our [campaigns] as a platform to showcase women we admire. We like to show women in our [campaigns] actually doing things, not just standing there and looking sexy.

Why use female tech founders in this campaign specifically?

When I was young and starting the business, I didn’t know a lot of women who were starting businesses and that was a challenge for me. It’s hard to see yourself succeeding if you don’t see people like you doing that. The thought behind the campaign was to bring attention to the fact that there are women in tech and they are killing it. We wanted to highlight the fact that they are there because, to some degree, the media doesn’t often feature women in tech.

For the rest of the story, please go to Fortune.com.

TIME

6 Surprising Reasons You Can’t Get That Credit Card

Even if you have good credit

Even if you think you have good credit, even if you get a “preapproved” credit card offer in the mail, you can still be shot down when you apply for a credit card. What gives?

Credit experts say there are a few obvious reasons — like blowing off bills regularly or having a recent bankruptcy — that can get you denied. There are also some more surprising reasons why you might have trouble getting a credit card.

You don’t have enough credit. Some people pat themselves on the back for having only a single credit card, or none at all. No credit cards or other obligations like mortgages or car loans, may mean you’re just frugal and really good with your money. But it makes you a cipher to credit card companies. “Lenders prefer being able to review a track record of how a person has managed credit in the past,” the National Foundation for Credit Counseling says. Without that, there’s a good chance they might not gamble on the unknown.

You’re going too fast. “It’s a red flag if a person is attempting to obtain too much credit at one time,” the NFCC says. Yes, this might seem counter to the idea that you need to build up your credit to get more credit. The key, though, is to build that credit history slowly. If an issuer sees that you just got a few new credit cards, they might wonder if you’re going to be able to handle one more.

You fell for that “preapproval” pitch. All that junk mail you get that says you’re preapproved doesn’t mean a thing, says Gerri Detweiler, director of consumer education at Credit.com. “Those offers are prescreened, but when consumers respond, an actual, full screening will take place,” she says. That more extensive look at your finances could catch a red flag the system’s earlier, less in-depth review missed.

You follow the 30% rule. The conventional wisdom is that you should keep your credit utilization ratio — that is, how much credit you have outstanding as a percentage of your credit limit — to 30% or lower. In reality, even a reasonable-sounding 30% might be too high for some skittish lenders. “The lower the utilization ratio the better,” says Curtis Arnold, founder of CardRatings.com. The amount of debt you have makes up 30% of your FICO credit score, so too much outstanding debt compared to your limit (that’s both per card and in the aggregate, FYI) can turn off a lender.

You’re double-dipping. “If you are trying to take advantage of the same bonus offer you already nabbed, your application may be denied,” Detweiler says. On a related note, if you already have multiple cards from the same issuer, you may not be approved for another one, Arnold says, especially if you’re trying to hit up the same bank for a balance transfer deal.

Somebody else messed up. Mistakes happen, and one on your credit report can keep you from getting a card, says Odysseas Papadimitriou, CEO and founder of Evolution Finance. Go to annualcreditreport.com to see your credit report for free. Don’t fall for similar-sounding sites; they might be trying to sell you an expensive credit-monitoring subscription. Go through the report and, if you find a mistake, Papadimitriou says sites like CardHub.com (which his company owns) offer guides for how to dispute credit report errors.

TIME Jobs

10 American Jobs That Are Disappearing Now

U.S. Postal Service Truck
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Very hard times ahead for these professions

247-LogoVersions-114x57
This post is in partnership with 24/7 Wall Street. The article below was originally published on 247wallst.com.

By Alexander E.M. Hess

After the Great Recession, which cost millions of Americans their jobs, the U.S. labor market has begun to heal. So far this year the United States has added an average of nearly 230,000 jobs per month. In the 10 years through 2022, the BLS estimates that total employment will grow by more than 15 million jobs, or nearly 11%.

However, the outlook for some occupations is bleak. For example, the number of fallers — logging workers who cut down trees — is expected to decline by 43% between 2012 and 2022, the most of any occupation. Based on Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates and projections for more than 1,000 occupations for 2012 and 2022, 24/7 Wall St. identified America’s disappearing jobs.

Click here to see the nation’s disappearing jobs

In many cases, these rapidly declining occupations are already quite rare. For instance, there were just 1,600 locomotive firers — who are responsible for monitoring train tracks and engine instruments — in the U.S. as of 2012. In all, five of the fastest declining occupations had fewer than 10,000 workers in 2012.

Yet, in other instances, occupations that are expected to contract still employ a large number of Americans. There were more than 320,000 people employed as data entry and information processing workers in 2012. There also were nearly half a million postal service workers.

The projected decline in postal service workers is especially significant. In all, the BLS forecasts that the number postal service jobs will fall by 139,000 between 2012 and 2022 — or more than all of the other disappearing occupations put together. A number of factors are expected to contribute to this decline, including continued drops in mail volumes as well as the ongoing financial struggles of the U.S. Postal Service. The USPS has already cut tens of thousands of jobs since 2012, and it is currently slated to cut another 15,000 jobs next year.

Increased automation, digitization, and technological innovation play a role in the decline of several of the fastest shrinking occupations. “We definitely think that technology and automation are a factor with some of these [jobs],” Martin Kohli, chief regional economist at the BLS, told 24/7 Wall St.

MORE: 10 Cities That Are Running Out of Water

The development of email has reduced mail volumes and, as a result, the need for postal service workers. Automated sorting systems have further reduced the need for human sorting. Similarly, motion picture projectionists have become less common as digital projection replaces traditional film rolls, Kohli said.

International trade can also play a part in the decline of an occupation. Specifically, Kohli identified free trade and imports as factors impacting textile occupations. Trade, Kohli said, “reduces the demand for people to make shoes and textiles in this country, because imported shoes and cloth, often from Asia, cost relatively little.” At the same time, he noted that this allows Americans to focus on other industries, such as high-level manufacturing and providing financial services. Semiconductor processors, too, have become less-common in the U.S., as many businesses have elected to outsource manufacturing work abroad and focus on design, marketing, and distribution.

To determine the jobs with the greatest forecast percentage decline in employment, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed BLS Employment Projections program data for 2012 and 2022. Most of these occupations refer to a specific job. In a few cases — postal service workers, data entry and information processing workers, and textile machine setters, operators, and tenders — we used a broader classification to reflect that multiple jobs in the larger job category would be among the fastest shrinking. Where several occupations were similar in their description, such as textile machine workers and fabric and apparel patternmakers, we selected only one occupation. Employment figures from the BLS for 2012 represent estimates, while figures for 2022 represent forecasts. Median annual wage figures are for 2012. Further information on each occupation came from the BLS’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.

These are America’s Disappearing Jobs:

5. Semiconductor Processors
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: -27.1%
> Number employed, 2012: 21,300
> Number employed, 2022: 15,500
> Median annual income: $33,020
> Educational qualification: Associate’s degree

Semiconductor processors oversee the manufacturing process by cleaning silicon, monitoring machinery, and testing circuits to ensure they function correctly. Processors work in perfectly clean rooms while wearing lightweight attire called “bunny suits” in order to prevent dust particles from damaging semiconductors. The combination of automation and foreign manufacturing is expected to reduce the number of processors by more than one-fourth between 2012 and 2022. Today, a number of major U.S. companies such as Broadcom and Qualcomm are “fabless” chip makers, meaning they outsource manufacturing operations, often to other countries.

4. Postal Service Workers
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: -28.3%
> Number employed, 2012: 491,600
> Number employed, 2022: 352,600
> Median annual income: $53,100
> Educational qualification: N/A

The number of postal service workers in general is projected to drop by more than 28% from 2012 to 2022, with postal service clerks expected to experience the biggest percentage drop. According to the BLS, “automated sorting systems, cluster mailboxes, and tight budgets” are all expected to lead to lower postal worker employment. The U.S. Postal Service has struggled for years to repair its finances, and posted a net loss of nearly $5 billion last year amid a decline in mail volume that will likely continue. In response to these declines, the USPS cut hours worked by 2.3% in 2012, and by an additional 1.1% last year. The USPS forecasts that it will run a multi-billion dollar loss in fiscal 2014. It has also announced plans to cut up to 15,000 jobs in 2015, an action that is being opposed by 50 U.S. senators.

MORE: America’s Best Companies to Work For

3. Shoe Machine Operators and Tenders
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: -35.3%
> Number employed, 2012: 3,500
> Number employed, 2022: 2,300
> Median annual income: $24,310
> Educational qualification: High school diploma

Jobs for shoe machine operators and tenders, who work to build shoes and shoe parts, are projected to drop by more than a third between 2012 and 2022. Yet, such jobs are already quite rare in the U.S., with only 3,500 people working in the field as of 2012. Today, many footwear makers outsource their manufacturing to foreign countries and companies. One such company headquartered in Hong Kong, Yue Yuen, employed roughly 413,000 people at the end of 2013. Major companies that outsource manufacturing to Yue Yuen include Nike, Adidas, and Puma.

2. Locomotive Firers
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: -42.0%
> Number employed, 2012: 1,600
> Number employed, 2022: 900
> Median annual income: $44,920
> Educational qualification: High school diploma

Locomotive firers are responsible for monitoring train tracks for debris, and they check various instruments in order to ensure that no problems are present with the trains’ engines. The job is currently very rare, with less than 2,000 workers as of 2012 — a number that is expected to drop far more in the coming decade. Already, many such jobs have become obsolete as automation has taken the place of people, with locomotive engineers and conductors filling most of these roles. A handful of companies — BNSF, CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific, as well as the national rail operator, Amtrak — employ most railroad workers.

MORE: 10 Companies That Will Disappear in 2015

1. Fallers
> Pct. change in employment 2012 – 2022: -43.3%
> Number employed, 2012: 6,600
> Number employed, 2022: 3,800
> Median annual income: $35,250
> Educational qualification: High school diploma

Fallers are logging workers that cut down trees. According to the BLS, fallers face numerous job pressures that are projected to cut jobs by roughly 43%. Despite a focus on safety, jobs in logging are often dangerous due to the machinery used and the dangers of falling branches. According to the BLS, fallers face numerous job pressures, including increased mechanization, conservation efforts, and foreign competition, that are projected to cut jobs by roughly 43%. Logging workers are already something of a rare occupation. As of 2012, there were just under 44,000 logging workers in the U.S., of which roughly 6,600 were fallers. The number of logging workers, overall, is expected to decline by 8.7% from 2012 to 2022.

For the rest of the list, please go to 24/7 Wall Street.

TIME Careers & Workplace

6 Things That Define Indispensable Employees

151812941
Sam Edwards—Getty Images/OJO Images RF

An employee survey turned into much more when a set of fascinating themes emerged

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

By Christine Lagorio-Chafkin

Here’s the Danny Meyer school of thought on how to make a traditional service business into an enlightened, customer-centric hospitality mecca: Put your employees first and shareholders last to create a “virtuous cycle of enlightened hospitality.”

That’s lovely and all, but can it really be applied to a startup? It seems a little overwrought.

When Greg Marsh, CEO of Onefinestay, a home-rental startup based in London, set out with his co-founders to survey the hospitality company’s 100 employees more than a year ago, he was looking for insight on the very company he’d built. He and his team didn’t expect to find what they did.

“We listened to their answers and videotaped them all and noted the themes that emerged, and from that discovered a set of truths or behaviors that were fairly universal,” Marsh said.

The behaviors of existing employees helped Onefinestay identify its existing company culture and pinpoint traits it would look for in ideal new hires. Key among the findings was an unusual mix of applied problem solving and natural empathy. Call it the left brain and the right, in harmony.

There was also, in those employee videos, what Marsh calls “a distinctive pattern of drive and raw determination to succeed.”

Onefinestay boiled down the traits it loved in its existing employees to what it has dubbed “The Magic Six.” These traits now serve as motivators for the company’s now more than 500 employees, and a guideline for the culture the company is striving for as it grows.

Want employees who are competent and hard-working, and truly care? Here’s what to seek out and nurture.

1. Fire in the belly.

Take risks. Be determined, be ambitious, and get stuff done.

2. Smart works.

Be practical with your intelligence and apply it wisely.

3. Empathy is your friend.

Understand yours, and others’ feelings and motivations, and act accordingly.

4. Integrity is integral

Earn trust by telling it straight. Honesty gets you a long way.

5. All for all.

We’re all dependent on one another. Be ready to help, and willing to accept help.

6. Remember Alice.

(Yes, this means Alice in Wonderland, the little girl who dreamt she dined with the Mad Hatter, and got advice from a caterpillar). The quirks make us who we are. Embrace them.

TIME cities

Explosion at BP Refinery, No Injuries Reported

Officials at the BP plant did not immediately provide details about the explosion

(WHITING, Ind.) — An explosion at a BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana, has rattled nearby homes. No injuries have been reported and no evacuation has been ordered.

A Whiting Fire Department spokesman said the explosion late Wednesday could be heard clearly several blocks from the plant. However, when fire commanders called plant officials to see if assistance was needed, they were told only to stand by.

Plant officials say the plant’s fire department was handling the incident. Officials at the BP plant, just east of Chicago, did not immediately provide details about the explosion.

The Chicago Sun-Times said Wednesday was the anniversary of a 1955 explosion in Whiting that killed two people.

TIME

Housing prices up, but gains are slowing

With their latest annual gain of 8.1%, real estate prices — as measured by the 20-City S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index — continued to rise, but the pace of the increase is slowing. The last three sets of numbers reported (for April, May, and June sales) show gains of 10.8%, 9.3%, and now 8.1%, respectively.

While that data series does make it easy to forecast how the July numbers will probably come in — anyone want to go out on a limb and guess an annual gain of 7%? — it also leads observers to wonder when this latest run of gains, which started back in 2012, will peter out. While every single city tracked registered price gains, ranging from 0.8% year-over-year for Cleveland to 15.2% year-over-year for Las Vegas, the Index is currently still 17% off its Summer 2006 peak.

So is the real estate recovery party headed towards an end? Probably not soon. David Blitzer, Chairman of the committee that puts out the Index, noted in a press release today that “Other housing indicators — starts, existing home sales and builders’ sentiment — are positive. Taken together, these point to a more normal housing sector.”

The National Association of Realtors, which collects a separate set of countrywide statistics, noted in its release of July data that this is the “29th consecutive month of year-over-year price gains,” and also cited another factor in the housing recovery in its latest release — rising inventory. As Time.com has previously reported, inventory shortages have been an ongoing problem in many markets. In July, however, there were 2.37 million homes available for sale, according to NAR, up from 2.30 million in June. The volume of home sales is rising too, jumping 2.4% from June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.15 million, but the additional inventory means that that there is still supply for buyers to choose from. Looked at from the perspective of “how long would it take to sell out current inventory?” there is a 5.5-month supply of homes at the current sales pace, which tips the market slightly in favor of sellers but is close to the 6-month supply of homes that is considered to signal a balanced market.

Meanwhile co-ops and condos, which are not included in the Case-Shiller figures, were reported by the NAR to be selling at an annual rate of 600,000 units per year. The median existing condo price was $215,000 in July, up 3.3 percent from a year ago. That price number will probably continue to inch up as superluxury sales in large cities cross the ticker tape. In New York, for example, the New York Times reports that a 63rd floor apartment at One57, a slender tower with helicopter views of Central Park, sold earlier this month for $32.57 million, which is over $10 million per bedroom for the three-bedroom residence. But hey, at least it’s got four-and-a-half marble baths — two in the master suite alone. Presumably that’s what passes for balance in the luxury market.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 46,425 other followers