USAir Group led the list of local companies announcing higher profits in their most recent quarters, while the earnings picture was more sober for Media General Inc. and Black & Decker Corp.

Washington-based USAir reported a 27 percent jump in profits for the second quarter, citing increased sales during the 29-day United Airlines strike. Profits were $49.5 million ($1.64 a share) on revenue of $481 million, compared with net income of $39 million ($1.61) on revenue of $429 million for the 1984 period. The company, whose principal operating subsidiary is USAir, said the increase per share was lower than the overall rise in profits because of debt restructuring.

Net earnings for the first half were $59.5 million on revenue of $875.5 million, up from income of $57.6 million on revenue of $801.4 million for the year-earlier period. Legg Mason Inc. said profits rose 300 percent in its first quarter ended June 30. The Baltimore-based securities brokerage earned $1.7 million (40 cents a share) on revenue of $24.4 million, compared with profits of $434,000 (10 cents) on revenue of $14.9 million for year-earlier period.

The firm attributed the gains to increased volume in the securities market and to internal expansion. Commissions from brokerage transactions grew to $11.5 million in the first quarter from $6.9 million last year, and the company has seven new offices. Towson-based Black & Decker Corp. had a third-quarter loss of $7 million (14 cents a share) on revenue of $371.9 million, compared with net earnings of $21.1 million (43 cents) on revenue of $373 million for the year-earlier period. For the first nine months, the company earned $36.7 million (72 cents) on revenue of $1.3 billion, down from $71 million ($1.47) on sales of $1 billion for the comparable 1984 period.

The company had plant layoffs and shutdowns in May and claimed restructuring charges of $9.5 million in the third quarter. The company said it will eliminate 280 jobs by closing one plant in Hamstead, Md., and will also eliminate 350 jobs in West Germany. The Ryland Group Inc. earned $4 million (64 cents a share) on sales of $114.9 million for its second quarter ended June 30, up from $3.1 million (50 cents) on sales of $103.3 million in the year-earlier period. For the first half, the Columbia, Md., home builder earned $4.9 million (78 cents) on sales of $193.2 million, compared with $4.4 million (70 cents) on sales of $180.2 million the year before. Media General Inc. posted a profit of $9.9 million ($1.39 a share) on revenue of $147.4 million in its second quarter, down from net income of $11 million ($1.54) on revenue of $141.2 million for the year-earlier period. For the first half, the diversified communications company based in Richmond earned $16.7 million ($2.36) on revenue of $287.3 million, down from $20.4 million ($2.88) on revenue of $271.5 million the year before.

Media General blamed the drop in part on the costs of closing down the evening edition of its newspaper in Winston-Salem, N.C. At United Financial Banking Co. in Vienna, profits increased 25 percent, to $318,000 (54 cents a share) from $181,000 (31 cents). The bank holding company, whose subsidiary is The Business Bank, netted $413,000 before taxes from the sale of part of The Green Hill Mortgage Banking Co., which UFBC purchased in 1984.

For the last six months, the company reported profits of $441,000 (75 cents), up 24 percent from $354,000 (61 cents) for the same period in 1984. UFBC reported assets of $54.7 million as of June 30, up from $49.7 million on December 31 of last year. Ethyl Corp. of Richmond earned $16 million on sales of $404.2 million in its second quarter, down sharply from a $35.6 million (46 cents) profit on sales of 446.5 million for the 1984 quarter. For the first six months of the year, the company earned $44.2 million (68 cents) on a revenue of $781.7 million, compared to earnings of $60.3 million (76 cents) on a revenue of $864.5 million for the first half of last year.

The company blamed the earnings decline to a gain of $3.8 million in the second quarter last year from the sale of its IMCO container division based in Richmond and real estate in Freemont, Calif., as well as to a $20 million write-off in its lead additives group.