Exact number of layoffs not known: Union Tank Car Co. says it is cutting about 158 employees at its plants in Alexandria and Sheldon, Texas, as it reduces railcar production. The company says it will phase out the workers over 10 days after a 20% production cut went into effect today. Union Tank Car spokesman Bruce Winslow says he does not have a separate breakout for how many workers would be cut in Louisiana. In December, Union Tank Care cut its payroll by 130, including 50 in Alexandria.
Looking for work: Initial claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana jumped 29% last week, according to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. For the week ending March 7, there were 4,533 first-time claims for jobless benefits. That’s up from the previous week’s total of 3,497. The agency also says initial claims for the latest week almost doubled from the comparable week of 2008 when 2,376 workers filed.