Fear & Loathing

Recession Still Crippling Vegas

While other cities begin to show faint signs of recovery, the recession in Vegas is staying in Vegas. And there seems to be no end in sight to Las Vegas’ bad trip through its worst economic downturn since casinos first began sprouting in the desert in the 1940s. Unemployment in the city is 14.7 percent, while the state is at 14.4 percent unemployment—up more than 10 points from a decade ago. And August marked the 44th consecutive month in which Nevada led all states in housing foreclosures. But at the heart of Vegas’ problem is a crash in gambling revenue. “It’s been in bad shape before, but not this bad,” said one researcher at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. “If you look at the gaming revenues, they have declined and continue to decline over the past three years.” From there, hotel rates have plumeted, dragging down every other aspect of the tourist industry. Still, it seems that the city’s gambling revenue has bottomed out.