Las Vegas June Jobless Rate Highest in US Among Large Metros

Posted on: July 29, 2021, 03:53h. 

Last updated on: July 29, 2021, 05:18h.

Las Vegas had the highest unemployment rate in June of any large metropolitan area in the nation, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

State of Nevada Department of Employment
A State of Nevada sign guides residents to a location for job training and employment. The state’s jobless rate is highest in the US. (Image: KTNV-TV)

In the Las Vegas metro area last month, 9.6 percent of the workforce was unemployed. This includes the Paradise and Henderson areas. Paradise is just south of the Las Vegas city limits. It is where many of the major hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip are located. Henderson is farther southeast of Las Vegas, about 16 miles from downtown.

The national unemployment rate in June was 6.1 percent, down from 11.2 percent a year earlier

The Las Vegas June jobless rate was slightly higher than the 9.5 percent rate in second-place Los Angeles. The Los Angeles metro region includes the Long Beach and Anaheim areas, south of the city. About 20 percent of the annual visitors to Las Vegas come from this metropolitan area. That figure is down from about 27 percent in 2016.

The June jobless figure for Las Vegas was higher than in May, when 8.9 percent of the workforce was unemployed. That rate gave Las Vegas the second-highest percentage of workers without a job, behind Los Angeles’ 9.1 percent. 

Las Vegas and Los Angeles are two of the nation’s 51 large metropolitan areas with populations of 1 million or more. Of these, the lowest unemployment rate was in Salt Lake City, Utah, where 3.2 percent of the workforce was jobless in June.

COVID-19 ‘Hotspot’

The June unemployment level in Las Vegas was far lower that the 34.2 percent rate during the height of the coronavirus pandemic last year. That rate was the highest in the nation, according to the Wall Street Journal. The area lost about 275,000 jobs during this period.

The tourism-dependent Las Vegas economy, flattened during the pre-vaccine months, began to recover earlier this year with the nationwide rollout of vaccinations and stimulus checks. Las Vegas casinos that were locked down for 11 weeks last year became packed again with visitors. 

However, that sunnier outcome could be dampened as the fast-spreading delta variant rips through the area, according to health officials. Authorities in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Hawaii are cautioning against visiting Las Vegas because of its rising number of infections and low vaccination rate. The White House has labeled Southern Nevada a “sustained hotspot” for COVID-19.

Face Coverings Required

Clark County Commission Chairwoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick told KLAS-TV she has been getting calls from around the country “to know if trade conventions are going to be safe to come here.”

Conventions are viewed as vital in bringing large numbers of visitors to the Las Vegas Valley. Since 1999, Las Vegas Strip casinos have made more money from conventions and from hotel amenities such as entertainment and food than from gambling, according to the Wall Street Journal. In 1998, an estimated 87 percent of visitors gambled while in Las Vegas. By 2019, that number dropped to 74 percent, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. 

This week, Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) mandated face coverings in public spaces for everyone, vaccinated or not, in counties with high COVID-19 transmission rates. Among these is Clark County, where Las Vegas is located. The mask mandate, which includes casinos, begins Friday.