The Press of Atlantic City reported on Tuesday that casino employment numbers in the New Jersey gambling hub are down this summer compared to last. The opening of two casinos last June were cited as a major reason for the dip.
Counting both full- and part-time workers, Atlantic City casinos employed 29,298 people in June, down 1 percent from the same month last year. That number dropped to 29,141 in July, down 3.6 percent from last year (July 2018 was also the first month in a long time that casino employment broke the 30,000 barrier). In August, employment fell to 28,585, 3.9 percent less than August 2018.
The Press noted that in August, the number of full-time employees at Atlantic City casinos dropped by 2,300 from the same month last year, but part-time, seasonal, and on-call employee figures increased.
The opening of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City and Ocean Casino Resort last summer had a lot to do with the differences. In a nutshell, they over-hired when they opened, so this summer’s numbers were more of a correction than anything else.
Rummy Pandit, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality, and Tourism at Stockton University, told The Press:
In terms of human capital, they will hire larger numbers initially often due to tight labor conditions, training needs and unknown business volume predictability. As training cycles are completed and the variables gain clarity, organizations will adjust to optimal levels of staffing based on operational demands. Which is perhaps why we are currently seeing a drop in the full-time employment numbers.
The newspaper reports that operating profits have gone down for the casinos in Atlantic City since Hard Rock and Ocean opened, a sign that those two properties did not grow the gaming market. When casinos need to cut costs, employees are often the first to go.
Unite Here Local 54 president Bob McDevitt said that on the bright side, seasonal workers are being hired earlier and kept longer than before. He said that the lower employment numbers are not concerning yet. One key will be if the casinos keep seasonal and temporary workers until October 15th, because at that point, the workers are eligible for full-time benefits.
“If they hang on to them until the end (Oct. 15), then it means there is business to support it,” McDevitt said.
Tropicana Atlantic City is the only property to have more employees this August than last: 3,166 versus 3,144. The bump was because of temporary, seasonal, and on-call staff, though, not full-time employees.
Hard Rock and Ocean are the second- and third- largest casinos in Atlantic City in terms of employment. Combined, they account for about a quarter of the industry’s employees in Atlantic City. For example, in the big month last year, July, they made up 27 percent of casino employment. This July, that figure was 25 percent.
Employment numbers will go down again from August to September, but that is normal because of seasonal staffing needs.
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