Las Vegas casino resorts are amid a hiring spree, as demand begins to ramp back up across Southern Nevada. But some firms say they’re having difficulty in finding qualified workers.
MGM Resorts, the largest employer in Nevada and the operator of the most casino properties on the Las Vegas Strip, says it has brought back the majority of its employees who were furloughed last year. MGM Vice President Randy Goldberg told the Las Vegas Review-Journal this week that it desperately needs to find more workers, as some of its former staff members found other employment during the pandemic.
Because of the length of time — almost a year — between closing doors and very slow operations to now, there were a lot of other former employees who found other jobs,” Goldberg said.
MGM reported that it had approximately 42,000 employees at the end of 2020. That’s down 40 percent — or 28,000 positions — from the 70,000-person workforce the casino giant had prior to the pandemic.
Workers Sitting Out
Businesses across the nation are struggling to find workers in the ongoing pandemic climate. Health concerns, stimulus payments, and continued higher unemployment compensation have been cited for some people opting to remain jobless.
Right now, what seems to be happening is that job creation is outpacing the search effort that workers are putting forth,” said Ioana Marinescu, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice.
Bethany Kahn, spokesperson for the Culinary Workers Union in Las Vegas, says there are plenty of gaming industry workers who remain off the job. She says only about half of the 60,000 workers the union represents have been called back.
“Unionized casinos should be recalling workers who were laid off due to COVID-19 as the tourism levels rise,” Khan said. “Staffing shortages aren’t good for customers, workers, or the company. The Culinary Union will keep advocating to bring more workers back to work.”
While MGM and other casino operators — Boyd Gaming, Ellis Island, Circa, and Virgin are all searching for workers — Resorts World Las Vegas’ February hiring event certainly had more than enough applicants. The $4.3 billion integrated resort that’s set to open in June said 85,000 applications were received for its roughly 6,000 jobs.
The nationwide unemployment rate stood at six percent for March 2021. Nevada was more than two full percentage points higher at 8.1 percent. Unemployment in the leisure and hospitality segment remains much higher. The sector’s unemployment rate was 28.4 percent last month.
Beginning May 1, casinos might receive a rush of applicants.
That’s the day when the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation says people on unemployment must begin looking for work in order to receive their checks. That requirement was suspended last year because of the large amounts of mass layoffs.