News roundup: Initial jobless claims drop in La. … Weekly U.S. oil, gas rig count down by 27 to 1,945 … L'Auberge hosts job fair at Cortana Saturday

News roundup: Initial jobless claims drop in La. … Weekly U.S. oil, gas rig count down by 27 to 1,945 … L'Auberge hosts job fair at Cortana Saturday




Getting better all the time: First-time claims for unemployment benefits dropped by more than 14% last week in Louisiana. The Louisiana Workforce Commission reports 3,076 initial claims for the week ending April 21. That's down from the previous week's total of 3,606. Initial claims for the comparable week ending April 23, 2011, totaled 3,388. Last week, the four-week moving average of initial claims increased to 3,192 from the previous week's 3,141. Last week, those still looking for work filed for an additional 33,033 weeks of payments, down from the previous week's 34,060. For the comparable week a year ago, the state received claims for an additional 43,635 benefit weeks.



Drilling down: The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States is down 27 this week to 1,945. Houston-based oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. reports today that 1,328 rigs were exploring for oil and 613 were looking for gas. Four were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago this week, Baker Hughes reported 1,818 rigs. Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, only North Dakota increased its total, gaining one rig. Louisiana lost five rigs, Pennsylvania and Texas each lost four, while Arkansas and Oklahoma each lost three. Alaska, California and New Mexico lost two apiece, and Colorado and Wyoming each lost one. West Virginia's tally was unchanged. The rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.



Here's the deal: L'Auberge Baton Rouge will hold a job fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Cortana Mall, 9401 Cortana Place, as part of an effort to fill more than 1,000 permanent positions at the hotel and casino. Officials say the jobs available include hourly positions, as well as manager and supervisor jobs. L'Auberge has already begun conducting interviews for some of the openings, and a training school for dealers is also set to open on May 14. The casino and hotel is expected to open before Labor Day, though an exact date has not been announced. Roughly 70% of the construction is complete at the development on River Road near Gardere Lane. You can check out job listings online at the casino's website here.



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