Nevada Casinos Help Reduce State Unemployment, Las Vegas Adds 4,800 Jobs

Posted on: June 21, 2022, 05:56h. 

Last updated on: June 21, 2022, 11:18h.

Nevada casinos employ more people than any other industry in the state. With gaming flourishing in the first full year of nearly all COVID-19 restrictions being a thing of the past, resorts continue to seek additional help.

Nevada casinos unemployment rate gaming industry
The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation reports that unemployment fell to below 5% in May 2022. It’s the first time Nevada has been below 5% unemployment since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Image: DETR)

The Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) reports that the state’s unemployment rate in May dipped one-tenth of a percent from April to 4.9%. Compared with a year ago, there were approximately 96,300 more people employed in the Silver State in May 2022 than May 2021.

The hiring spree is being fueled by the gaming industry. Las Vegas added 4,800 jobs in May and has hired or brought back more than 86,100 people from a year ago. The Reno area added another 800 jobs last month.

Nevada casinos have won at least $1 billion in each of the past 14 months — an unprecedented streak. The robust pent-up demand from 2020 and much of last year continues to keep paying off for the more than 200 casinos in the state.

Recovery Accomplished, Expansion Underway

DETR Chief Economist David Schmidt said in a release that Nevada’s job market has recovered past pre-pandemic levels. The state’s chief economic expert explains that Nevada is transitioning “from a recovery mode to economic expansion.”

Much of that expansion, Schmidt says, should be credited to the state’s gaming industry — the richest in the nation.

This growth is driven in part by a rebound in employment in the casino industry which realized significant gains late in 2021,” Schmidt detailed. “This growth has led to Nevada as a state and Las Vegas as a metropolitan area outperforming other states during this time.”

Other sectors, however, aren’t nearly as healthy as gaming. And many of those businesses are apparently trimming their labor forces. While DETR says the state’s leisure and hospitality industry added thousands of jobs last month, Nevada reported a net job gain of only 2,600 jobs in May.

As a result, Nevada’s 4.9% May unemployment rate — though a slight improvement from April — remains considerably higher than the 3.6% national average. Prior to the coronavirus, Nevada’s unemployment rate hovered around 4% throughout much of 2019.

Job Market Could Slow

Nevada was one of the hardest-hit states by the pandemic in terms of job losses, as its economy is largely dependent on leisure, tourism, and the convention business. While gaming is booming, Americans will likely begin reining in their spending and tightening their wallets as inflation continues to soar.

Bill Adams, chief economist at Comerica Bank, says the hospitality industry is highly susceptible to inflation. And if the Federal Reserve cannot get inflation under control, spurring a recession, fewer jobs will be available, he says.

“Businesses that are seeing their margins squeezed by rising costs, like hospitality, or that are seeing demand soften, like retail, are pulling job postings as their outlook softens,” Adams told The New York Times this month.

But for now, casinos across the country continue to scramble for workers. From Atlantic City and Virginia to Nevada and California, an abundance of jobs inside casinos remain available.