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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 1:00 am

Delta ranks No. 1 in on-time flights

News services

WASHINGTON – Delta Air Lines scored the best for on-time flights in the latest government rankings, but United and American weren't far behind.

Virgin America had the highest rate of delayed flights, and discount carrier Spirit Airlines drew the highest rate of consumer complaints.

The Transportation Department released figures for March on Tuesday. The report covers the 12 largest U.S. airlines.

Through the first three months of the year, airlines bumped one in every 16,000 passengers off a flight – the same rate as in early 2016.

More commonly, airlines find volunteers to give up their seats on overbooked flights – that happened to about one in every 1,500 passengers, slightly less often than in early 2016.

JetBlue had the highest rate of bumping, which it says can occur when a smaller plane replaces a larger one. Delta had the lowest bumping rate and the highest number of volunteers who gave up their seats.

New-home construction falls

Construction of new homes fell for a second straight month in April, pushing activity to the lowest point in five months.

Housing starts fell 2.6 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million units, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. That followed a 6.6 percent decline in March and left home building at its lowest point since November. The weakness was led by a big drop in construction of apartments, a volatile sector.

Nevertheless, housing construction has been one of the bright spots for the economy. Analysts expect that the number of Americans seeking homes will rebound in the coming months, driven by strong employment gains and low unemployment.

UN predicts economic growth

The United Nations predicted Tuesday that the global economy will expand in the next two years, spurred by stronger growth in the last six months and a modest recovery in trade and investment.

In a mid-year update from its January forecast, the U.N. said the acceleration is underpinned by firm economic growth in many developed countries and strengthened prospects in countries in transition, with east and south Asia remaining the world's most dynamic regions.

The U.N. predicts global economic growth of 2.7 percent this year and 2.9 percent in 2018, compared with a revised figure of 2.3 percent in 2016.

Rue21 files for bankruptcy

Teen clothing retailer Rue21 is restructuring and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection about a month after announcing it would close roughly 400 stores to focus on online sales.

The company announced last month that it is shuttering the stores, including its Orchard Crossing store in Fort Wayne, leaving it with more than 700 stores in 48 states. The Glenbrook Square store will remain open.

The company, based near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, announced Tuesday that its bankruptcy filing accompanies agreements with lenders to restructure some debt and obtain more capital. The company says it could wind up closing more stores before it can emerge from bankruptcy in the fall.

Home Depot profits ratchet up

Home Depot has found fertile ground this first quarter as the gardening season begins and Americans, while pulling back on spending elsewhere, appear more than ready to plow money into projects at home.

The home improvement retailer topped expectations for profit and revenue and it raised its profit outlook for the year, sending shares toward an all-time high before the opening bell Tuesday.

For the three months that ended April 30, revenue climbed to $23.89 billion from $22.76 billion. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research predicted revenue of $23.74 billion.