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Jerome García April 10, 2023 3 min read
Nevada’s Hospitality, Gaming Sector Still on the Road to Recovery
Although the pandemic has mostly resided, Nevada's gaming and hospitality sector is yet to reach the number of jobs it recorded before the pandemic
The outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic a few years ago changed many industries at once, resulting in temporary or in some cases permanent closures, as well as job and pay cuts. During this uncertain time, as always, employees were the ones to first feel the impact and this applies to the hospitality and gaming sector in Nevada, the home of the gambling capital of the world, Las Vegas.
With the pandemic residing, much traveling has returned to normal. There are no more strict rules that limit the amenities or number of visitors, allowing hospitality and entertainment providers, including casinos, to return to normal operations. Yet, employees and employers will always remember the impact of the pandemic that resulted in permanent and temporary changes to the gambling industry.
Now, a new report released by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, reveals that Culinary Local 226, one of the major unions representing hotel and casino employees, has seen a decrease in its members of 20% when compared to figures before the pandemic. The union acknowledged that the pandemic impacted jobs that are unlikely to return. Moreover, a comparison between February 2022 and pre-pandemic January 2020 revealed that the hospitality and leisure industry is short of approximately 3,600 jobs.
Culinary Local 226 explained that some companies permanently shut amenities that used to be available before the pandemic. As a result, the number of workplaces in some sectors was reduced permanently. On the other hand, other jobs were eliminated via the implementation of tech solutions, explained Culinary Local 226.
Finding a Job Is Still a Challenge
According to Ted Pappageorge, the Culinary Union’s secretary-treasurer, companies having smaller teams results in an increase in responsibilities, which in turn boosts workload and may impact the quality of the work. He said that this is an increasing concern, especially for sectors such as housekeepers and similar related jobs.
Pappageorge explained: “We get it, in the pandemic companies had to cut. But we’ve seen this too many times, during the Great Recession and other times, where companies are quick to cut and slow to bring back the workforce as necessary.” In addition, Pappageorge, said that the Union will try and help the workers by advocating for “the largest wage increases ever.”
“Finding a job in Vegas, I feel like it’s about a connection. You have to have a plug; you have to know people.“Yodit Belete, a resident of Las Vegas
The latest report revealed that although the hospitality and leisure sector is yet to reach its pre-pandemic employment, finding a job isn’t that easy. Yodit Belete, a resident of Las Vegas, who sought to find a job as a bartender or server said that finding a job was difficult. While searching, she felt that you need to know people to get around and find a job.
Still, the ongoing increase in revenue observed month after month confirms that Nevada is on the right track. Previously, analysts have predicted the sector to be out of the recovery period at some point between 2024-2025.