With the gambling industry in decline and the city’s bleak prospects, Las Vegas casino operator MGM Resorts has made the decision to lay off more staff from its properties, helping to increase the already high unemployment rate in the city.
MGM plans to lay off 140 managers at its Las Vegas properties starting monday, the Reno Gazette Journal reported last week.
Brian Ahern, spokesman for the company explained that these “temporary reductions” are the result of pessimistic projections, according to which business in this sector “will remain low for the beginning of the year due to the pandemic.”
MGM had already laid off thousands of employees last spring due to Nevada casino closings triggered by the pandemic. The properties were closed for months, but then reopened a minimum of capacity due to the restrictions imposed.
All casinos cut their payroll
MGM then decided to permanently lay off a quarter of its workforce (about 18,000 employees) in august. While the other casino operators in the city made similar payroll cuts. Including those announced last week, after new measures imposed at the end of the year that further limits its capacity.
According to a report released early last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Las Vegas’s unemployment rate in november was 11.5%. This is much lower than the unemployment figures that El Centro de California shows at 16.4%.
Only Las Vegas has the highest unemployment rate compared to the other 51 metropolitan areas in the United States, which have a population of 1 million or more. Followed by New Orleans with 9.8%.
On the other hand, Las Vegas also leads the table of cities with a year-on-year increase in unemployment since november 2019, adding 7.9 points.
Sharp drop in national and foreign visitors
Data from the Las Vegas Visitors and Convention Authority showed that in november last year 1.51 million visitors visited the city. That is, 56.8% less than the visitors registered in the same month in 2019.
Additionally, the total number of visitors for november was 18.4% lower than the 1.85 million who visited Las Vegas in october.
Statistics reveal that in november the hotel occupancy rate was 39.3% with a reduction of less than half of the 88.2% captured in the same month of 2019. Compared with the data of october 2020, the occupancy remained 7.6 points below.
During the week, hotel occupancy was worse, only 32.4%, in contrast to the 84.8% recorded in November of the previous year.
Also taking into account a 30% drop in room rates during that period.
With the convention business on the ground, those who visit Las Vegas are now mostly customers from neighboring states. This new customer base is described by city casino bosses as ‘drive-in’ traffic.
Previously, it was veritable hordes of visitors from all over the country and abroad who came to Las Vegas every week in search of fun and adventure. While in november vehicle traffic to the city from Southern California saw a decrease of less than 5% year-on-year, air traffic through McCarran International Airport fell 56.7%.