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News in Brief- August 22, 2018

News in Brief- August 22, 2018

Education superintendent: Louisiana teachers need pay hike

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's education superintendent says salaries for public school teachers need to be raised.

State Superintendent of Education John White made his comments Thursday on a local radio show. The Advocate reports that White noted teacher pay has slipped below the regional average after Louisiana reached that longtime target in 2007.

The latest figures compiled by the Southern Regional Education Board, for the 2015-16 school year, show Louisiana teachers are paid $49,244 on average, compared to the $50,949 regional average. The national average is $58,064.

Gov. John Bel Edwards has said he hopes to recommend to lawmakers an increase in public school financing next year that would help pay for teacher raises. White says the state needs to be sensitive to pay for shortage areas, including math and science teachers.

Information from: The Advocate,


US rig count remains at 1,057; Texas gains 3 rigs

HOUSTON (AP) — The number of rigs exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. held steady at 1,057 this week.

At this time a year ago there were 946 active rigs.

Houston oilfield services company Baker Hughes reported Friday that 869 rigs drilled for oil this week and 186 for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous.

Among major oil- and gas-producing states, Texas gained three rigs, Louisiana and Pennsylvania each increased by two and Oklahoma added one.

New Mexico lost three rigs and Alaska, Ohio, West Virginia and Wyoming each decreased by one.

Arkansas, California, Colorado, North Dakota and Utah were unchanged.

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


Louisiana unemployment rate rises for fourth straight month

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana's unemployment rate continued rising in July, worsening for the fourth straight month.

The state's jobless rate rose to 4.9 percent from 4.7 percent in June. Despite the rebound, unemployment remained below the July 2017 rate of 5 percent.

The number of unemployed Louisianans rose by 4,000 to 105,000, as a decline in working people outstripped a smaller decline in the state's workforce.

The separate employer payroll survey — which is many economists' top labor market indicator — was flat at 1.99 million. Payrolls remain 21,000 above year-ago levels, thanks to strong gains in early 2018.

July's U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.9 percent from 4 percent in June. Louisiana has the third-highest jobless rate among states

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


2 groups submit proposals for old Charity Hospital

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Louisiana State University says two groups have submitted proposals for new uses of the century-old building that held Charity Hospital until Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005.

The LSU Real Estate and Facilities Foundation said in a statement Monday that one of three groups asked for proposals dropped out because a principal team member died last week.

The foundation will release proposals from HRI Properties LLC and 1532 Tulane Partners after it recommends one to the LSU Board of Supervisors.

HRI has redeveloped several historic buildings. 1532 Tulane Partners includes the architectural company that helped restore Brennan's Restaurant.

LSU Board of Supervisors meets Oct. 4. The foundation will make its recommendation sometime before that.

The three teams were among six that responded to a request for qualifications.


Louisiana uninsured rate drops since expansion of Medicaid

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A new study shows the number of Louisiana adults without health insurance has been cut in half since the state expanded its Medicaid program.

The Louisiana Health Insurance Survey has been conducted by LSU every two years since 2003. It found 11.4 percent of non-elderly Louisiana adults were uninsured in 2017. That's about 321,000 people aged 19 to 64.

In 2015, the rate was 22.7 percent.

Driving the drop is Gov. John Bel Edwards' decision to enact Medicaid expansion. That has added 474,000 adults to government-financed insurance since July 2016.

The report says about 53 percent of Louisiana adults have health insurance through their employers, while Medicaid covers about 21 percent.

Fewer than 3 percent of Louisiana children are uninsured. The report showed nearly 54 percent are covered through Medicaid.