Employees in the Atlantic City casino industry have faced a ton of strife over the past few months. In March, when the casinos shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tens of thousands of employees were laid off or furloughed. Many of these employees are still out of work, even though casinos reopened in July. As the venues got back to work, they could only reopen at a certain capacity. Because of this, some amenities and services are not being offered, so employee numbers continue to be down. In October, the nine casinos in Atlantic City reported only 22,220 jobs. This is a decline of around 17% when compared to the same month last year.
Job Losses Continue
In October, both part time and full-time jobs are down in Atlantic City. Last month, the city had 4,670 fewer jobs than the same month in 2019. The number of people with employment in the gambling town was down by a double-digit percentage for four months in a row.
The monthly report for employment was just released by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement, showing a significant number of employees are furloughed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Casino Association of New Jersey president and Caesars Entertainment Inc. regional president Steve Callender, commented that the industry is getting tougher and restrictions are making a big difference in employment numbers.
According to Callender, the state continues to deal with a new surge in positive cases of the virus. The same can be said for across the country. As less people come in to the casinos, the employment numbers will only get worse.
Last month, the full-time job percentage dropped by 21%. For part-time jobs, the number was down 42%. However, for temporary positions, seasonal, furloughed and on-call workers, the number increased by over 22%.
Staff Reductions are Necessary
As the industry continues to face restrictions, the employee numbers will remain down. Dining and drink service have been restricted recently, which means less employees in these sectors are needed. The casino capacity is still down, so this also calls for a reduction in employees in the workplace.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has suppressed customer demand but increased how much it costs to do business. Casinos must meet certain protocols such as installing dividers among gamers and in certain areas where employees are dealing with customers. Masks are also required and additional PPE, which casinos are supplying guests and staff. All of this has an added cost.
It is also important to consider that those who are working are doing so with a reduction in hours and wages. No one is working like they normally would which means less money to pay for necessities like bills and food.
Employees are struggling and casinos are trying their best to help. Food drives took place recently before the Thanksgiving holiday to provide staples to those who are affected by unemployment.
Within the industry, the hope is that a vaccine will be available soon so that people can start to recover from the virus and it is no longer as large of a threat as it was before.