New York City may be the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in terms of illnesses, but when it comes to job losses, the New York Times declares Las Vegas to be "ground zero." The broad strokes are simple enough: About a third of the local economy is tied up in the leisure and hospitality industry, and hundreds of thousands of workers in the state have suddenly found themselves without an income. Coverage, including tentative casino plans on reopening:
- The numbers: In the roughly five weeks the industry has been shut down, more than 340,000 people have filed for unemployment benefits, reports the AP. That's about a quarter of the local workforce, and it doesn't include the self-employed, gig workers, or those unable to get through to the clogged unemployment system. Generally, these are working-class people among the least prepared to cope with a prolonged layoff, notes the Times.
- The contrast: Before the pandemic, Nevada had one of the fastest-growing economies in the nation. Then, poof—everything shut down. "From an analytical standpoint, this is unprecedented," an analyst with Applied Analysis, a Vegas economic research firm, tells the Times. "We have no frame of reference for what we are seeing."