NPR's business news starts with a hopeful economic sign.

Alcoa, the biggest aluminum producer in the United States, has announced that it posted a profit of more than $240 million in the last three months of 2012. That is a big improvement from the same quarter the year before when Alcoa lost $190 million.

Now Alcoa says the turnaround was helped by increased aluminum sales to the construction and aerospace industries, which is why this is considered a hopeful sign. People are doing something with that building material and analysts say this could point to more vibrant economic growth overall. The company predicts aluminum demand will double by the end of the decade.

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