It’s no surprise that with a town that’s built on tourism, gaming, and more recently, sports, that when the coronavirus outbreak began spreading across the country, it would impact Las Vegas in critical ways.
And that’s been just the case.
When the Strip was essentially shut down by the March 18th closure of all casinos, it rocked the hospitality industry and left hundreds of thousands without jobs. In fact, unemployment levels in Nevada have skyrocketed in the past month like never seen before.
Of course, unemployment levels have broken records nationwide, but Las Vegas is reeling the hit even harder due to it being a tourism town that depends on visitors for their economy to run smoothly.
Sky-High Unemployment Levels
According to the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, the week of March 21st saw its highest number of unemployment claims at 92,298. The previous record it held was 8,945 claims during the week of Jan. 10, 2009, during the Great Recession.
The claims put in after March 21 were still significantly high, with 71,942 claims submitted March 28, 2020, and 79,285 claims submitted April 4, 2020.
Last week, Oxford Economics, an analytics firm, ranked the Silver State as the second most vulnerable in terms of economy, just behind Maine.
The firm pointed out that Nevada gets four times more of its gross domestic product from the tourism sector than the entire country does as a whole.
Some of the factors that went into compiling the list include the states’ elderly populations, activity from retail outlets and small businesses.
What Makes a State More Vulnerable Than Others?
According to Oxford Economics, the most vulnerable states being impacted during this pandemic lean with a higher percentage of elderly populations, populations who rely on retail activity, or states who have a larger number of small businesses.
According to Yardi Matrix, a real estate research group, they explained in their Tuesday report that nearly 50% of Southern Nevada’s workers belong to the very industries that have had the most risk for job insecurity during the COVID-19 crisis.
Those at-risk industries include entertainment and leisure, hospitality, retail, and construction.
Las Vegas, the Perfect Storm for Coronavirus Impacts
Popularly known as the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” Las Vegas is built on tourism and visitors flocking to have their “Vegas experience.”
But when the global coronavirus outbreak hit, it made for the perfect disaster waiting to happen.
It was the reason why Nevada Governor Sisolak made the decision early on to essentially shut Las Vegas down. With casinos closed and nonessential businesses shuttered as well, it helped the city dodge what could have been an even bigger bullet with the crowds that Las Vegas brings in.
The decision for the statewide closures was to prevent the spread of the virus and contain it as best as possible so that local healthcare facilities wouldn’t be overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and outnumbered.
Time Will Tell
While the government is doing what it can to help support the unemployed and the toppled economy, only time will tell the impact it will wreck on Nevada’s economy.
Luckily, many gaming operators have “cash burn” flows, that they can utilize which will help support them while there is no business coming in. But, again, we’ll have to see how long these casino closures will in fact last.
As of now, they’re still on track to reopen April 30. Gov. Sisolak advised Nevada residents that he will be consulting medical experts’ advice in when to reopen the state.
Be sure to check back for more updates regarding the coronavirus crisis in Las Vegas. We hope you’re staying safe and sane at home!