Construction contracts: Up in Dec., sank in 2012
The value of contracts for future construction in the seven-county Pittsburgh metropolitan area jumped by 116 percent in December, but fell by 15 percent for all of 2012, McGraw-Hill Construction reported. In December, the total value of residential and nonresidential contracts was $175.9 million, up from $81.2 million in December 2011. For the year, residential contracts rose by 25 percent to $885.4 million while nonresidential contracts fell by 33 percent to $1 billion.
IRS reminds taxpayers of free tax filing programs
The IRS is reminding taxpayers with adjusted gross income of $57,000 or less that they may use online software to prepare and file their federal tax returns electronically for free through the agency's Free File program. People with higher incomes can still use Free File to file their returns at no cost. For information, visit www.IRS.gov/freefile.
First Commonwealth leaps to profitable Q4
First Commonwealth Financial Corp.'s fourth-quarter profit surged to $8.7 million, or 9 cents per share, up from a loss of $5.7 million, or 5 cents, in the same three months a year earlier as the Indiana, Pa.-based bank set aside far less money to cover bad loans. The provision for credit losses for the quarter was $5.7 million, down from $25.9 million in the prior period. For all of 2012, profit jumped to $42 million, or 40 cents per share, up from $15.3 million, or 15 cents, in 2011. The provision for loan losses fell to $20.5 million from $55.8 million.
BlackBerry launches comeback campaign
BlackBerry maker Research in Motion Ltd. unveiled its long-awaited line-up of revamped smartphones Wednesday. The Canadian company also used the occasion to announce it is changing its name to BlackBerry. The Q10 will feature a physical keyboard like previous versions of the phone, while the Z10 will have a touch-screen keyboard. They will run on a redesigned operating system called BlackBerry 10. The Z10 won't be released in the U.S. until March and the Q10 might not arrive until April. All major U.S. carriers plan to sell the new BlackBerrys but prices weren't announced.
Nemacolin casino to hold open house for dealers
Lady Luck Casino Nemacolin will hold an open house for potential "dealer school" applicants from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Laurel Business Institute, Uniontown. Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, the posh Fayette County hotel and spa, soon will be hiring table games dealers for its casino, which is under construction and will be managed by Isle of Capri Casinos. Dealer classes are scheduled to begin Feb. 11; applications can be found at www.islecasinojobs.com.
Also in business...
Jeremiah Garvey was named co-chair of the corporate section of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney. He succeeds Ronald Basso ,who left the law firm to become executive vice president-business development, general counsel and corporate secretary of Black Box Corp., one of the firm's clients. Thomas Buchanan remains the other co-chair of the firm's corporate section.
From staff and wire reports