unsplash.com

It's a New Year and time to look forward to a fresh start. For some, this means seeking out a new job. With the unemployment rate falling and the hiring rate on the upswing, 2018 is set to be a year of prospects and potential.

As per the personal finance website WalletHub, "College graduates, especially, will see a strong boost in their job prospects. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers plan to hire 4 percent more members from the Class of 2018 than from the previous graduating cohort."

unsplash.com

But even those already in the workforce can look forward to new job possibilities in 2018. There is no time like the present to jump into a new career, seek out a better salary, or even move to a new city with more opportunity. That is where WalletHub's recent report comes in – 2018's best places to find a job in the U.S.

182 American cities were reviewed and ranked based on their "indicators of job-market strength" across two key dimensions – socio-economics and job market. 26 metrics were studied by WalletHubs's panel of experts throughout each city and weighed accordingly based on WalletHub's unique methodology. These factors included job opportunities, employment growth, average monthly starting salary, unemployment rate, median annual income, average work hours, average commute time, affordable housing, etc.

unsplash.com

After all key indicators were measured and scaled, the WalletHub team listed all 182 cities looked at from 1 to 182. Which cities came out on top for the best places to find a job in 2018? Here are the top 10 cities. If you are seeking a new job this year, you are in luck if you live in one of these places. Or perhaps you will consider relocating to find your dream job. (#1 is the overall best).

1.Chandler, AZ


2.Scottsdale, AZ


3.San Francisco, CA


4.Peoria, AZ


5.Gilbert, AZ


6.Plano, TX


7.Portland, ME


8.Irvine, CA


9.Madison, WI


10.Boston, MA

Arizona is looking great for job seekers in 2018, taking 4 of the 5 top slots. The weather may be dry, but in terms of career potential, the opportunity is overflowing!

As for the bottom 10, here are WalletHub's worst places to find a job this year. (#1 is the worst).

1.Shreveport, LA


2.Detroit, MI


3.Newark, NJ


4.Columbus, GA


5.Birmingham, AL


6.New Orleans, LA


7.Hialeah, FL


8.Fresno, CA


9.Montgomery, AL


10.Mobile, AL

Three of Alabama's major cities landed in the bottom 10. Would you move out of state for a better job or at least the chance for one?

Some noteworthy tidbits from the WalletHub report…

Looking for a nice starting salary? Then again, who isn't? The highest monthly average starting salary based on cost of living was found in San Jose, CA - $5,441. San Jose ranked at 32 on the WalletHub report.

The highest median annual household income (also adjusted by cost of living) is $89,013 found in Columbia, MD. Columbia came in at an impressive #15.

Where is unemployment at its worst? That would be Detroit, MI with a 10.9% unemployment rate. Detroit ranked at 181, just a point shy of coming in last.

For more information about this job-related WalletHub study, their methodology, and the full 182-city ranking, please see the entire report. To read some information about 2017's best and worst cities for jobs, see PayPath's review of last year's study where Scottsdale, AZ came in at the top of the list and Detroit clocked in as worst.

unsplash.com

If you are seeking a job this year, good luck! May where you live be an attribute when it comes to your future success.

PayPath
Follow Us on

Developing further skills can boost your career at any stage.

Whether you are looking for a new job or trying to grow in your current one, getting a certification can be a great way to improve your skills.

Anyone can put that they are proficient in a computer program on their resume but having a certificate can help you stand out amongst the competition and give credence to the strength of your skills.

But what's the best way to invest in yourself without breaking the bank? Some certification programs can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. We are going to walk through six of the best certifications you can get for $100 or less.

Tableau

Tableau's data visualization capabilities are comparable to Domo and Power BI.

Who is it best for: Those who work with analyzing and presenting data.

Cost: $100 for Tableau Desktop Specialist; additional certifications are available for a larger fee.

More companies than ever see themselves as data companies. Being able to understand data and use it to guide decisions at your company is often critical to taking on a leadership role. Not to mention, being able to present the data in a clean, attractive, and compelling way can help get buy-in from others in your organization or clients. That's why Tableau is a great tool to have in your toolbox.

Tableau allows you to create interactive visual analytics dashboards. In layman's terms, you can take data; create graphs, maps, or charts; and then allow end-users to interact with these graphics to better understand the information. It's a fantastic tool allowing non-technical users to gain insights for data-driven decision-making.

Tableau Desktop Specialist certification starts at $100 and has no expiration date. There are many videos on Tableau's site to prepare for your exam as well as Tableau Starter Kits allowing you to play around and learn the different capabilities of the program. Tableau offers a 14-day free trial as well as free license for one year for students.

Additional certifications after Desktop Specialist are Desktop Associate and Desktop Professional. Those working with a Tableau server may also be interested in a separate certification as a Server Associate or Server Professional.

The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

Getty Images/Maria Stavreva

Whether you're leaving a job involuntarily, departing for something new, or just want to prepare for the unknown, it is smart to understand all your options regarding your 401k.

Keep reading Show less