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News in Brief- April 25, 2018

News in Brief- April 25, 2018

Louisiana payrolls jump in March as jobless rate ticks down

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana's labor market showed signs of strengthening in March as employer payrolls increased sharply and unemployment ticked down.

The jobless rate fell to 4.4 percent in March from 4.6 percent in February, as more people entered the labor force and more found jobs. Louisiana's unemployment rate was 5.6 percent a year ago.

About 95,000 Louisianans were jobless, the same as in February.

The separate employer payroll survey — many economists' top labor market indicator — rose by 7,000 to 1.99 million in Louisiana from February to March. That's the biggest gain in years, pushing payrolls about 12,000 above year-ago levels.

March's U.S. unemployment rate stayed at 4.1 percent for the third month, below last year's 4.5 percent.

The U.S. Labor Department released figures Friday, adjusted to cancel out seasonal changes.

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‘NCIS: New Orleans’ returns for season 5; series generated nearly $300 million in Louisiana

NEW ORLEANS — The hit prime-time series NCIS: New Orleans has been renewed for a fifth season, extending for another year the substantial economic investment in Louisiana by CBS Television Studios.

The show’s production maintains a year-round presence in Louisiana and supports hundreds of jobs, with an estimated Louisiana payroll of $51.9 million and total estimated Louisiana spending of $78.1 million for Season 4.

With a fifth season, NCIS: New Orleans becomes the longest-running scripted, episodic TV series to film in Louisiana since the state’s entertainment incentive program was launched in 2002.

The series has accounted for Louisiana payroll of $139.9 million and total Louisiana spending of $290.7 million since its inception, based on final, audited totals for the pilot and first two seasons and estimated totals awaiting final certification for the third and fourth seasons.

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Average price of US gas jumps 9 cents, to $2.83 a gallon

CAMARILLO, Calif. (AP) — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline spiked 9 cents a gallon over the past two weeks to $2.83.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg said Sunday that the jump was driven primarily by rising crude oil costs.

The current gas price is 37 cents above where it was a year ago.

The highest average price in the contiguous 48 states was $3.68 in the San Francisco Bay area. The lowest was $2.45 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

The average price for diesel fuel rose six cents, to $3.10.

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Texas gains 8 rigs as US rig count rises to 1,013

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. increased by five this week to 1,013.

At this time a year ago there were 857 active rigs.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported Friday that 820 rigs drilled for oil this week and 192 for gas. One was listed as miscellaneous.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas added eight rigs while Louisiana and New Mexico each added one.

Colorado and North Dakota each declined by two rigs while Ohio, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania dropped one apiece.

Alaska, Arkansas, California, Kansas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming were unchanged.

The U.S. rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981. It bottomed out in May of 2016 at 404.