Business Briefs: Overall Pittsburgh-area construction contract value fell 10% in Nov. 2012

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Construction contract value here fell 10%

The value of contracts for future construction in the Pittsburgh region dropped by 10 percent in November to a total $114.1 million, McGraw-Hill Construction reported. The total includes residential contracts, which rose by 17 percent from November 2011 to $53.8 million, and nonresidential contracts, which fell by 26 percent to $60.3 million. For the year to date, contracts dropped by 20 percent to a total $1.7 billion from $2.1 billion in the first 11 months of 2011.

2 Lehigh Valley hospitals stay in Highmark network

Downtown-based Highmark Inc. announced that a new multi-year contract with Coordinated Health of Bethlehem and Allentown will keep the two Lehigh Valley hospitals in its network. The contract for Coordinated Health-Allentown and Coordinated Health Bethlehem took effect Tuesday.

Marc USA doubles social media divisions

Station Square-based ad agency Marc USA said it has doubled the size of its interactive and social media practices, adding more than 25 employees to expand its digital expertise. More hiring is planned. Marc employs 200 people in its Chicago, Miami and Pittsburgh offices and reports $300 million in annual billings.

Giant Eagle expands curbside service to Pine

The Curbside Express shopping service that Giant Eagle began testing last year at its Market District store in Robinson has done well enough that the O'Hara-based grocer is now offering it in the Market District store in Pine. The service, which costs $4.95 per order, involves customers placing orders online at and then picking up the groceries in front of the store during a pre-set window of time. The company said Robinson employees have processed hundreds of orders since the launch in April.

Construction spending fell in U.S. in November

Construction spending dipped 0.3 percent in November, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. It was the first decline since March and followed a 0.7 percent increase in October, which was revised lower. Total spending declined to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $866 billion. The November figures were dragged lower by a 5.5 percent decline in spending on federal government projects.

Also in business ...

Law firms K&L Gates and Middletons said their merger was completed Jan. 1. The combination of Pittsburgh-based K&L and Middletons, a national firm in Australia, brings K&L's headcount to 2,000-plus lawyers in 46 offices worldwide. ... Mylan Inc. said it received regulatory approval for the generic version of Merck & Co.'s Maxalt tablets and Maxalt orally disintegrating tablets used to treat migraines. ... The Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index climbed to 50.7 last month from November's 49.5, which was the weakest since July 2009, the Tempe, Ariz.-based group's report showed Wednesday.

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