Our daily blend of the latest news, trends and tips for the small business community.

What’s going ‘on’:

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said budget cutting measures will likely limit pay increases for troops and increase the cost of health insurance for veterans. (Win McNamee/GETTY IMAGES)

U.S. economic recovery picks up pace: The newest numbers from the Commerce Department show that the economy expanded at a comfortable rate of 2.8 percent during the last quarter of last year. The figure suggests that, after the slowdown for much of 2011, the recovery has begun to accelerate again.

Pentagon budget downsizing next year: The Pentagon budget will actually shrink for the first time since 1998 under a proposal released by the Obama administration that will cut the size of the Army and Marine Corps, trim the number of fighter aircraft and ships and seek congressional approval for another round of military base closures. The cuts are part of a broader initiative to cut Pentagon spending by $487 billion over the next decade.

Unemployment claims climb after recent progress: The number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to a seasonally adjusted 377,000, up from a nearly four-year low the previous week. But the longer-term trend is pointing to a healthier job market, as applications have trended down over the past few months.

Durable goods orders rise at year’s end: Orders for durable goods rose 3 percent last month while so-called core capital goods, which are viewed as a good measure of business investment plans, hit an all-time high, according to new data from the Commerce Department. Economists noted that a surge in volatile demand for commercial aircraft contributed to the upward trends.

Keep an eye ‘on’:

Report: Facebook IPO coming this week: Facebook is planning to file its initial public offering next Wednesday, according to the Wall Street Journal. The newspaper reported that Morgan Stanley is close to being picked as the underwriter for the company’s IPO, which is expected to have a valuation between $75 and $100 billion dollars.

Small business IT market attracting big players: The small business information services market is starting to attract large companies, according to The Wall Street Journal. Recently, companies like Apple have brought new competition to independent consultants who have in the past handled those services for start-ups and small firms.

Helpful advice ‘on’:

How to approach your small business tax return (AP)

How to improve your site on a tight budget (Open Forum)

How to grow a business using data trends (Small Biz Lady)

How to stop selling and close the deal (Entrepreneur)

How to monitor the conversation about your firm (NFIB)