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This Hour: Latest Louisiana news, sports, business and entertainment

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Survey: Louisianans with jobs top 2 million

More than 2 million Louisianans say they have a job, an all-time high.

That number hit a new peak for the sixth month in a row in March, as the state's unemployment rate held steady from February at 4.5 percent. That's the eighth-lowest rate in the nation.

A separate survey shows payrolls were grew slightly from February to March, but remained below the record levels of late 2013.

Both sets of figures - adjusted to cancel out normal seasonal changes - were released Friday by the U.S. Labor Department.

Louisiana's unemployment rate was 6.4 percent in March 2013.

The number of unemployed Louisianians remained below 100,000, falling to 93,500 in March. That's the lowest level since July 2008, down from 95,000 in February and 135,000 in March 2013.


Early voting for May 3 election begins Saturday

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Early voting for the May 3 general election begins Saturday and continues through April 26, excluding Sunday.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler says 35 parishes are holding elections on May 3rd. Those parishes include: Acadia, Allen, Beauregard, Bienville, Caddo, Calcasieu, Cameron, Catahoula, Desoto, East Baton Rouge, Grant, Iberia, Jefferson, Jefferson Davis, Lafourche, LaSalle, Livingston, Madison, Morehouse, Natchitoches, Ouachita, Rapides, Richland, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Union, Vernon, Washington, Webster, West Feliciana, and Winn.

Citizens who want to vote early may do so in person at their parish Registrar of Voters Office or at other designated locations.


US delays review of Keystone XL pipeline

WASHINGTON (AP) - The State Department is giving federal agencies more time to review the Keystone XL pipeline before deciding whether to issue a permit.

That could push a decision about the oil pipeline until after the midterm elections in November.

The State Department is citing a recent decision by a Nebraska judge that overturned a state law that allowed the pipeline's path through the state. The State Department says that created uncertainty and ongoing litigation.

The government is not saying how much longer the review will take. But it says the process isn't starting over.

The pipeline has become a politically fraught issue. Republicans criticize President Barack Obama for taking too long to decide. The State Department has jurisdiction because the pipeline would cross the border between the U.S. and Canada.


Flea market shooting suspect gets new lawyers

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - A 15-year-old boy charged with first-degree murder in the February killing of a flea market employee told a judge that he had changed his mind about the defense lawyers he wants to represent him.

The teen told state District Judge Patrick Michot Thursday he wished to be defended by two attorneys hired by his parents, rather than the three criminal defense attorneys he had opted for earlier this year.

The Advocate reports attorneys Michael Hall, of New Orleans, and Roxell Richard, of Houston, will take over the teen's defense.

The teen is accused in the Feb. 2 shooting death of 49-year-old Michael Patin, who worked at the Jockey Lot flea market off Interstate 49 near Carencro.


No Pick 3, Pick 4 on Easter Sunday

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - The Louisiana Lottery Corporation says there will be no Pick 3 or Pick 4 drawings on Easter Sunday.

Pick 3 and Pick 4 drawings are conducted daily, except on Christmas Day and Easter Sunday.

Tickets purchased after the draw close on April 19 and on April 20 for these games will be good for the next regularly scheduled drawing on Monday, April 21.

Advance plays on Pick 3 and Pick 4 will not be available on Sunday. Also, April 20 will be skipped on any Pick 3 or Pick 4 multidraw ticket, with the number of draws remaining accurately reflected on the ticket.


Rapper Lil Boosie to take Louisiana stages

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - It's a big weekend ahead for Louisiana-grown Lil Boosie, who for the first time since his yearslong prison stint for a 2009 drug conviction, takes the stage in his home state with performances scheduled in Lafayette and New Orleans.

In an interview with The Associated Press, the rapper - whose real name is Torence Hatch - says he can't wait to get on stage Saturday at Lafayette's Cajundome and the Lakefront Arena in New Orleans on Sunday.

Hatch says fans can expect a great show and a few surprises. He wouldn't spill any details, but says they should expect to leave the arenas sweaty because he plans to have them jumping the whole time.

The Louisiana concerts follow a sold-out April 11 performance in Nashville, his first post-prison show.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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