After the pandemic news that shocked the US in 2020, the country, and particularly the hospitality industry, was in turmoil. Loss of jobs, businesses closing and a almost complete shutdown of travel negativity impacted the industry. One of the hardest hit was Las Vegas. But staying true to its reputation of succeeding when others would have failed, Sin City is bouncing back in a spectacular way.
A Full House
Las Vegas found its rhythm in growth in the late 1950s with the opening of the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in 1946. The population growth then accelerated and between 1990 and 2000 the population nearly doubled, increasing by 85.2%.
For the past 30 years, the population of Clark County, where Las Vegas resides, more than tripled. According to the US Census, the area went from 756,000 people in 1990 to over 2.3 million today. With the influx of citizens, the Las Vegas economy exploded as well.
During the pandemic, fun destinations like Atlantic City was almost at a complete standstill. Although Atlantic City might have suffered greater proportional losses in jobs, Las Vegas’s decline in absolute numbers from 2019 to 2020 was staggering. From April 2019 to 2020, the Las Vegas area shed roughly 250,800 jobs.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, from May 2019 to 2020, non-farm employment was even worse, with the number of employees down by 25.2%, from an estimated 1,036,400 in May 2019, to a depressing 774,900 in May 2020.
Thankfully, the leisure and hospitality industry, one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, added the most jobs between October 2020 and 2021. The labor force in Las Vegas is currently 1,130,526 people, which is 5,685 less people than June 2021, and is up 13,348 people since July 2020.
Las Vegas went through some very difficult times. Covid’s nastiness stifled the Vegas economy in early 2020 through the first half of 2021. More than 292,000 people worked in the hospitality and leisure sector in Las Vegas in February 2020, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. But by April 2020, that number dropped by more than half to 142,000, and it bottomed out in May at 127,000.
Now the outlook is brighter. According to the Las Vegas Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR), Nevada added 2,600 jobs in November 2021, bringing the state’s total employment level up to 1,367,500. The state’s unemployment rate dipped to 6.8%, down from 7.2% in October 2021. Although Nevada’s job growth in October was slower than previous months, the unemployment rate experienced its largest decline for 2021, falling by 0.4 percentage points.
One of the hardest hit during the pandemic, at one point, Las Vegas had the highest unemployment rate in the US. But thanks to lifted restrictions on travel, the economy is seeing a surge in visitors and people wanting to enjoy their freedom in Vegas. Workers are returning, (though still at lower wages than average), and the Las Vegas economy is gradually improving.
The graph below from the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance shows the average wage rate lower than the national average.
Shooting for a Royal Flush
Finally, things are looking much brighter for Las Vegas. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the largest over-the-year percentage increase in employment in large metropolitan areas occurred in Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nevada, where employment increased 21.4%.
The number of people employed in the Las Vegas area increased from 774,900 in May 2020 to 940,700 in May 2021, an increase of 165,800. A recent Forbes Magazine article confirms that thankfully, 2021 brought some remarkable recoveries in the Las Vegas area labor market. Non-farm payrolls reported employment was up more than 22%, from under 775,000 in May 2020, to more than 947,000 in May 2021.
According to the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, tourism in Las Vegas briefly slowed in August and September before ramping up in October. A total of 3.4 million visitors came to Southern Nevada in October, an 82.6% increase on the year and the highest monthly total since the onset of the pandemic. Today, special events and related leisure travel continues to drive visitation.
Additionally, Southern Nevada’s gaming industry continued its hot streak toward the end of 2021 with another billion-dollar month (October) in gross gaming revenues. The $1.1 billion in gross gaming revenue collected in October marked a 57.3% increase on the year and was 9.1% behind the record-setting total of $1.2 billion in July 2021.
October was also the fifth month of more than $1.0 billion in gross gaming revenue collections in the past six months. The Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance also found that there is a strong sense of optimism going into 2022. The housing market showed no signs of slowing down, employment grew steadily and the tourism industry is getting its footing once again.
Now is the time to shore up your business strategy and plan for the uptick in visitors and people looking to finally break away from all of the Covid madness. As Alexander Graham Bell said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” When trying to fill key roles in anticipation of this increase in business in The City Without Clocks, it’s important to be prepared on how to attract and keep good talent.
Las Vegas isn’t just coming back to life, it is preparing for above and beyond what it used to be. New resorts like the all-new Resorts World Las Vegas with more than 3,500 rooms, making it one of the ten biggest in the city. Other Vegas properties have put a lot of money into renovations including the Strip Virgin Hotels Las Vegas (formerly Hard Rock) and the reconstruction of the Monte Carlo into the Park MGM.
Other new or renovated hotels and casinos include the Circa Resort and Casino, which opened in December 2020. Circa is the area’s first ground-up resort development since 1980. The resort hosts bragging rights to the longest outdoor bar, the Fremont Street Experience. This property also includes a multilevel casino.
Vegas is gearing up for more business than ever in 2022 and beyond. From the The Spa at Suncoast, offering services like aromatherapy, facials and manicures, to other hotels and casinos providing chances at riches and spectacular entertainment—the future is looking bright for the Entertainment Capital of the World!
For more information on Gecko Hospitality’s services in the Las Vegas, Nevada area, please contact Jay Bush, email@example.com