Nevada Facing Record Unemployment With Casinos Closed

casino closed

With an economy heavily reliant on tourism, Nevada may have the largest number of unemployed workers due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a state where an estimated one in three workers is employed by the leisure and hospitality industry, The Wall Street Journal reports 320,000 Nevada workers are at risk, twice the number in the late 2000s, which could push Nevada’s unemployment rate above 30 percent.

There are 441 casinos in the state of Nevada, including gambling spots Las Vegas, Reno, Lake Tahoe and Laughlin who had more than $12 billion dollars in gambling revenues last year, according to the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

Stephen Miller, an economist at University of Nevada, told the news outlet that economic downturn during the recession of 2007 to 2009 was deeper and longer than in Las Vegas than many other U.S. cities.

“It looks like that will be the same case this time around,” he said.

A recent report by Las Vegas-based economic research firm Applied Analysis found 320,000 Nevada workers are at risk in the upheaval, twice the number in the late 2000s, which could push Nevada’s unemployment rate above 30 percent, the report said.

In another grim survey, the Nevada Resort Association, an industry trade group, projected casinos will lose $39 billion by the fall of next year.

The WSJ report said tourism is likely to take longer to recover than some other industries as the public keeps away from crowded places to avoid coronavirus contagion.

The one bright spot appears to the state’s real estate market. KOLO 8 News, a Reno TV station, reported single-family home sales increased in March by nearly 10 percent, while the median home price swelled by 12.5 percent compared to the same month one year ago, according to the Reno/Sparks Association of Realtors.

David Johnson, a global real estate advisor for Sierra Sotheby’s International Realty, told the station the strong housing market in northern Nevada amid the COVID-19 pandemic brings its own challenges.

“The fundamentals of real estate are quite strong and we still have quite a lack of inventory so the demand is still there,” he said. “Working from home a lot now has been challenging with a near 3-year-old and an infant and a wife at home.”



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