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briefs

Zoo to fill 75 positions for summer

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo will host a Summer Job Fair from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Pavilion No.1 at Franke Park.

The zoo wants to fill about 75 seasonal positions, including guest services, concessions, gate admission and operations support. For more information, visit kidszoo.org. Those interested also may go to kidszoo.org/about-the-zoo/employment-opportunities/ to fill out an application, which they should bring to the job fair.

Interviews will be as time and capacity allow.

Energy costs push up consumer spending

Americans spent more in January, but the increase came from a surge in spending on heating bills during the harsh winter. Spending in areas such as autos and clothing declined.

Spending rose 0.4 percent in January after a 0.1 percent gain in December the Commerce Department said Monday. The December figure was revised down from a 0.4 percent increase.

Income grew 0.3 percent in January after no increase in December.

The overall spending increase in January reflected a 0.8 percent jump in spending on services, the effect of higher heating bills.

Spending on durable goods such as autos fell 0.3 percent. And spending on nondurable goods, covering things like clothing and food, dropped 0.7 percent.

“Spending looks great but is not,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. Without an 11.3 percent surge in spending on utility bills, Shepherdson said consumer spending would have been close to flat.

Manufacturing helped by orders, stockpiles

U.S. manufacturing expanded more quickly last month as companies received more orders and boosted their stockpiles.

A measure of production fell to its lowest level in nearly five years, likely a casualty of severe winter weather. But the rise in orders raises the possibility that factory output will rebound in coming months, economists said.

The Institute for Supply Management, a group of purchasing managers, said Monday that its manufacturing index rose to 53.2 in February from 51.3 in January. The increase only partly reversed a five-point drop in January from December.

Still, any reading above 50 signals growth. And economists were encouraged by the increase in both new and backlogged orders.

Construction spending up slightly in January

U.S. construction spending showed a tiny increase in January as strength in housing helped to offset declines in non-residential building and government projects.

Construction spending edged up 0.1 percent in January, significantly slower than an upwardly revised 1.5 percent gain in December, the Commerce Department reported Monday.

Home building was up 1.1 percent in January with single-family construction rising 2.3 percent and apartments up 1 percent.

However, there was widespread weakness outside of housing. Non-residential construction fell 0.2 percent and office building was flat, with bad weather likely a factor in the weakness.

Total government construction was down 0.8 percent in January compared with December.

Construction spending totaled $943.1 billion in January at a seasonally adjusted annual rate.

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