After a mass recruitment drive in Nevada’s casino industry, the state added 10,200 new jobs in May, lowering unemployment to 7.8%. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
A spike in employment
Following more than a year of COVID-19 closures and health and safety restrictions, Nevada’s gaming sector is finally on the mend. With the state’s casinos now at full capacity, operators are recruiting thousands of new employees to help with the transition back to normality.
the leisure and hospitality industry contributed the most jobs by far at around 9,500
Nevada added 10,200 new jobs last month alone as casinos continue this mass recruitment drive. According to data released on Tuesday by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), the leisure and hospitality industry contributed the most jobs by far at around 9,500. The Labor Department has revealed that employers across the entire US added 559,000 jobs in May.
The state is certainly not out of the woods yet, but the additional jobs helped to decrease Nevada’s unemployment total to 7.8% in May. Although still high, that corresponds to a decline of almost 69% from May of 2020 when forced closures sparked huge job losses across the gaming industry.
Commenting on the results in a news release, DETR chief economist David Schmidt expressed optimism for a continued recovery. “While employment has not fully recovered and unemployment remains high, the trends consistently point to an ongoing recovery as we head into the summer,” he said.
Rebuilding the gaming industry
Since June 1, the bright lights of Las Vegas have returned to something of their former glory. The Nevada Gaming Control Board has eased restrictions for all of Nevada, allowing Las Vegas’s casino giants to welcome customers through their doors at 100% capacity for the first time since the pandemic began.
Las Vegas casinos began a hiring drive in April to cope with the impending increase in demand. As reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, MGM Resorts International supposedly hired “100 people on the spot” during one job fair that month. Similarly, hotel-casinos such as Circus Circus Hotel and Casino, Ellis Island Hotel, and Virgin Hotels Las Vegas also committed to hiring new staff throughout April.
Far from slowing down, casino operators seem to have upped their efforts to acquire new recruits over recent weeks. The STRAT hotel-casino and Station Casinos both hosted their own recruitment events last week. Meanwhile, Clark County officials are planning to host a summer fair which will feature more than 100 employers in July.
Recovery despite restrictions
As of yet, the Nevada Gaming Control Board has not released any figures for June to assess the impact of a return to full capacity for Nevada’s casinos. However, revenue data from the last reported month in April shows that restrictions were doing little to prevent the recovery of the state’s lucrative market.
We’ve only hit $1bn in the month of April three times in our state history.”
Nevada casino operators saw more than $1bn in revenue for the month of April, a rise of 11% from pre-pandemic levels in 2019. Upon release of the figures, Nevada Gaming Control Board senior research analyst Michael Lawton explained their significance. “In Nevada, a billion-dollar win is a bellwether number,” he commented. “We’ve only hit $1bn in the month of April three times in our state history.”
Within April’s $1bn total, the state’s slot machines generated the highest revenue in the state’s history at $793.7m. Downtown Las Vegas also hit an all-time monthly win record of $76.2m. That’s a rise of 23% from 2019. Revenue from the Strip itself showed only slight growth from pre-pandemic levels at $483.4m, up 0.3% from two years ago.