As the bottom fell out of the American economy, few places were hit harder than Las Vegas, where a full one-third of the local economy is in the leisure and hospitality industry, more than in any other major metropolitan area in the country. Most of those jobs cannot be done from home.
Nearly 350,000 people in Nevada have filed for unemployment benefits since the crisis began, the highest number in the history of the state. Applied Analysis, a Las Vegas-based economic research firm, estimates the city’s current jobless rate to be about 25 percent — nearly double what it was during the Great Recession — and rising…
Before the crisis, Nevada’s economy was one of the fastest growing in the country. Then, practically overnight, the glittering Vegas strip shut down, throwing thousands of waiters, bartenders, hotel cleaners and casino workers out of work, often without severance or benefits, and leaving the most bustling and storied stretch of the state’s economy boarded up and empty.
“If you were to imagine a horror movie when all the people disappear, that’s what it looks like,” said Larry Scott, the chief operating officer of Three Square, Southern Nevada’s only food bank, describing the Vegas strip. “You can’t imagine that there is a circumstance that could possibly cause that. I couldn’t have.”