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Job openings hit 2-year high and return to pre-Covid levels: How the headlines affect your money

Plus: One in 10 Americans has been victimized by gift-card scams.


Stocks fell from record levels, job openings hit a two-year high, and about 1 in 10 Americans has fallen victim to gift-card scams.

Stocks take a breather

On Tuesday, stocks posted slight declines. The Dow showed the biggest loss among major indexes, falling 0.3% on the day. The S&P and Nasdaq each posted 0.1% losses.

Stocks had hit record highs on Monday amid a slew of good economic news. Even after Tuesday's pullback, the S&P 500 is up 8.5% so far in 2021.

Markets resumed their rise Wednesday morning, with the S&P hovering near a record high.

Job openings accelerate to 2-year high

The pace of new job openings reached a record high in February, jumping nearly 5% year over year, the Department of Labor reported Tuesday in the latest Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS).

Total openings reached 7.4 million on February 28, eclipsing pre-pandemic levels of about 7 million and providing an encouraging signal to market-watchers who are bullish on the prospects for a continued economic recovery.

Job seekers are not all rejoicing just yet. About 9.7 million Americans still find themselves unemployed, about 1.3 out-of-work adults for each opening.

3 tips for getting a job in a new industry

Courtney Stith

1 in 10 Americans has fallen victim to gift-card fraud

About 1 in 10 Americans has been the victim of gift-card scams, according to a recent survey from AARP. The scheme involves fraudsters convincing their targets to pay for goods or services by buying and then providing the redemption code for a gift card. Once they have the number, the crooks empty the money on the card and disappear.

If you've been a victim of gift-card fraud, the FTC recommends calling the card issuer and telling them that the card was used in a scam. The company may be able to refund your money. Head to the FTC's website for a complete guide to avoiding gift-card scams and recovering your money if you're defrauded.

How to spot a phishing scam

Video by Ian Wolsten

Words you've heard: compound interest

Compound interest is the long-term investor's best friend: It means that you earn interest on your interest. Albert Einstein is said to have called it "the most powerful force in the universe." 

Say you started with $1,000 and earned 10% per year. After year one you'd have $1,100. Year two brings you 10% of your year-one total ($1,100), which brings your total amount to $1,210. After 40 years at this rate, you'd have $45,260.

You can use compounding to your advantage by starting to invest early in your career. But be careful: The power of compounding can work against you, too, if you incur high-rate debt. Check out Grow's compounding calculator to see how your money can grow over time.

Although the daily news can have an impact on your wallet, remember to take a long-term outlook when it comes to decisions on spending, saving, and investing.

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