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US durable goods orders slip 1 percent

Orders for U.S. durable goods tumbled 1 percent in May as demand for military equipment fell sharply. But excluding defense-related goods, orders actually rose, and orders in a key category that signals business investment also increased.

The gains outside of military goods suggest business spending is picking up, which could give the economy a much-needed boost.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders, excluding defense, rose 0.6 percent in May, after falling 0.8 percent in April. Orders for core capital goods, which reflect business investment, increased 0.7 percent, after a 1.1 percent drop.

Demand for military goods is highly volatile and had surged in April, so the sharp drop in May wasn’t a surprise and was dismissed by many economists.

Factories reported higher demand for steel and other metals, computers, and autos. Durable goods are items expected to last at least three years.

Local jobless numbers lower than first stated

State officials announced some positive job news Wednesday. Unemployment in metro Fort Wayne didn’t increase as much as initially reported last week, Indiana Department of Workforce Development officials said.

A revised report shows Fort Wayne’s metropolitan statistical area – made up of Allen, Wells and Whitley counties – saw joblessness rise to 5.2 percent in May from 5 percent in April. Last Friday, the state said the area had 5.3 percent unemployment in May.

Statewide, unemployment last month remained unchanged from April at a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.7 percent.

Verizon increases mobile tech capacity

Verizon Wireless has doubled its capacity in Fort Wayne to accommodate subscribers using more forms of mobile technology.

The update is called “XLTE” and promises to enhance high-speed services for customers, the company plans to announce today. Wireless network capacity for customers in densely populated areas, such as concerts and other large events, will especially benefit.

The wireless network means sending photos, downloading videos and similar tasks will work smoothly, even during peak usage times, the company said.

Verizon has invested more than $1.5 billion in infrastructure improvements in Indiana since 2000.

IEDC hires consultant to seek growth ideas

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has hired a Pittsburgh consulting firm to analyze cities that have experienced economic transformation in recent years to learn what tools helped them achieve success, state officials announced Wednesday.

The nationwide review will be summarized in a report and made available to Hoosier city leaders in hopes they can learn from the examples and use some of the same strategies to encourage growth and investment.

Fourth Economy Consulting has been asked to deliver the study this fall.

Eric Doden, the IEDC’s president, said his organization needs to keep an eye on other states even though Indiana has a reputation for being business-friendly because of relatively low taxes and other various incentives.

“We need to know what our Indiana cities can do to energize growth and witness a tomorrow even more prosperous than today,” he said in a statement.