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Arnold M. Knightly

Employment: Open season for jobs

28 July 2008

LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- You don't need to tell Robert Gibson how tough it is to find steady work in the current job market.

Gibson searched for two months before landing a job as a cook at the Eastside Cannery, which is scheduled to open Aug. 28.

Recently he drove 25 miles from his residence in the Green Valley section of Henderson hoping to ride his wave of good fortune by landing a second job with a similar position at Aliante Station in North Las Vegas.

"I am surprised by how tough (the job market) is," he said while waiting for an interview at the hotel-casino's employment center near Aliante Parkway and the Las Vegas Beltway.

Gibson has worked for the past six months as an on-call extra for Binion's downtown. However, with the economy flagging and gaming revenues declining, shifts have become few and far between. Gibson has been forced to find something else to help pay his bills.

Although the job market is tough for workers, job cuts at casinos and other businesses has been a boon for companies trying to staff new hotel-casinos opening later this year. In addition to Aliante Station and Eastside Cannery, Encore, a Wynn Resorts Ltd., property will open in December.

Data show people are hungry for jobs.

When Station Casinos began accepting applications in November 2005 for Red Rock Resort, Clark County unemployment was 3.7 percent with a labor pool of 875,000.

Eastside Cannery.

Shipley said applications came from a mixture of people already working at other properties, people who had jobs in other industries and unemployed workers.

For many job applicants, job offers can't come soon enough. But they'll need to be patient; casinos begin taking applications months before workers are needed.

"The job now will begin in two to three weeks," Shipley said. "When we were looking in May for candidates, that's a long time to have to wait."

Station Casinos spokeswoman Lori Nelson said any workers hired for Aliante Station won't begin receiving paychecks until October, a month before the new property opens.

Wynn Resorts won't start interviewing job candidates until early August, Rosol said; job offers will follow in late September.

The companies will also be looking for new workers at older properties because some of their workers will be moving to their new properties.

"That was really our priority, to make sure that everybody had the chance to grow," Rosol said. "About a third of our positions at Encore are going to be filled by existing staff."

Approximately half the jobs at Eastside Cannery will be transfers and former Nevada Palace workers. Station Casinos said transfers will fill approximately 400 jobs at Aliante Station.

The nearly 7,700 new jobs these three properties are bringing to the market are just the beginning of a jump in employment in the industry.

The new jobs are projected to contribute to a 7.5 percent increase in leisure and hospitality employment statewide by the end of 2009, an employment outlook report released in February by the state Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation shows.

A similar growth rate is projected for 2010.

•The $1 billion M Resort will begin taking applications in September to fill the nearly 2,000 jobs at the hotel-casino scheduled to open next spring.

•The $2.9 billion Fontainebleau is scheduled to begin hiring early next year for the nearly 6,000 workers need for when the property opens in late 2009.

•Boyd Gaming Corp. expects to hire 10,000 workers for its $4.8 billion Echelon project, and MGM Mirage expects to begin accepting applications for 12,000 workers for its $9.2 CityCenter development early next year.

In the meantime, Gibson said he is not taking the lack of job offers personally. It's just the way the job market is, for now.

"Obviously I have a few qualifications since a few places have called me and the Eastside Cannery hired me," Gibson said. "It's just tough out there. It really is."

Employment: Open season for jobs is republished from