March 9, 2024 News Roundup: Latest Updates & Headlines

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**Title: A Lightbulb Moment in Personal Finance! Curiosities of Credit, Jobs & More (early March 2024)**

**H1: Here’s the Skinny! Looking Back on the Week That Was**

Let’s kick off this jaunty journey with these headlines we’re about to dive into:

– Job growth: Still moving and grooving, but what’s with the question marks?
– Credit cards: Delinquencies and net losses waving hello to pre-COVID times
– Government cap on credit card late fees: Eight is the magic number now
– American Express hands us a wake-up call with third-party data breach
– Job vacancies: Lowest count since 2021 – Cause for concern?
– FICO scores take a tiny tumble in late 2023
– Bank profits feel the burn after last year’s failures
– A slight sigh of relief as mortgage rates dip for a change

**H2: Good Job Growth News, with a Hint of Mystery**

High-fiving for the 38th consecutive month, our lovely economy was treated to 275,000 new jobs in February 2024, pretty good compared to the average monthly gain of 230,000 last year. But hey, let’s raise an eyebrow at the unexpected revisions bringing down job growth for December and January by 167,000.

**H2: Pesky Delinquencies Knocking at Pre-Pandemic Levels**

S&P Global spots that our credit card late payments rates are chilling out near pre-pandemic levels, with net loss rates hopping over them. This basically means credit card companies are having a harder time collecting due money. The tally currently stands at a 1.41% delinquency rate – a tad bit higher than last year.

**H2: Less Tears for Late Fees — $8 Cap**

Cheer up, folks! The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has decided to play Santa and cap credit card late fees at 8 bucks per time. That’s a lot less than the current $32 average. Of course, there’s a catch – credit card companies can charge more if they can prove that handling late payments costs more.

**H2: American Express Rings Data Breach Alarm**

Wave those red flags! American Express has gone all town crier about a third-party data breach. The good news – no fault at American Express’s end. Still, the breach at a vendor used by merchants for processing credit card transactions could potentially expose customer details.

**H2: Job Openings: Record Low Since 2021**

The Bureau of Labor Statistics brought worrisome news this month with a record low number of job openings since 2021. However, let’s not panic yet. With more job openings than job seekers, there’s still plenty of opportunity out there.

**H2: FICO Scores: A Small Slip-Up in 2023**

Don’t fret over an insignificant one-point dip in October 2023, bringing the average score to 717. Look at the bright side, we’re still doing better than a decade ago, with everyone’s average FICO score up by 27 points.

**H2: Banks Feeling Under the Weather— Profits Dip**

Bank profits took a significant hit – 43.9% to be precise – in the year’s closing quarter. Turns out, banks had to fork out extra fees to top up the FDIC’s deposit insurance fund, drained by a string of bank failures. Hang in there, guys!

**H2: Mortgage Rates: Finally, a Slight Dip!**

Breathing a sigh of relief this week, we welcome a dip in 30-year mortgage rates by 0.06%, the first decline since February. Yes, the rates are still a bit higher than earlier this year at 6.88% but every little helps!

**H1: To Sum Up**

Well, that about wraps up our helpful summary of the financial landscape for the week. Let’s keep our fingers crossed for sunnier days and less turbulence in our bank accounts. Tune in next week for more exciting updates!

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