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Las Vegas Job Market Struggles To Find Workers

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(AP Photo/John Locher, File)

In this April 22, 2021, file photo, people wait in line to apply for seasonal jobs at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas in Las Vegas. The hotel-casino, which opened in March, held the casting call to hire for seasonal positions at the resort pool and dayclub. Hotels, restaurants and other businesses in tourist destinations are warning that hiring challenges during the coronavirus pandemic could force them to pare back operating hours or curtail services just as they’re eyeing a bounce-back summer.

(Editor's note: This story originally aired May 4, 2021)

As pandemic restrictions loosen and more tourists come back to the Strip, Clark County’s job market finds itself vying for more workers.  

Unemployment in Clark County sits at around 8.8%, but in the last 30 days, more than 40,000 new job postings have been generated for Las Vegas alone.

So when will people get back to work in Clark County? And why aren't some people applying for jobs that are open?  

Joe Sharpe understands the challenges of the job search. He’s a project director for One-Stop Career Center, a federally funded employment and training center.  

“As people return to work and they start to explore opportunities, a lot of people are looking to go back to the previous job they were in,” Sharpe said, “I think they’re waiting just along with us, and employers, to see when is that job going to come back.”

He said while it might seem strange that people who are unemployed are also unwilling to take any available job, in reality, it’s not just about wages when it comes to finding a position.

“It’s about hours. It’s about benefits. It’s about stability,” he said.

Other concerns particular to the pandemic, like childcare, health and safety, are also at play when people consider taking a job.

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Sharpe said right now the industries that are hiring the most are retail, food service and customer service. He said there are jobs for front-line workers but also for managers.

He believes some people should see the current employment situation as an opportunity to find something new. One-Stop Career Center can help people looking to improve their skills or learn a new skill to get job training.

“We can directly connect them to our training institutions here in the valley that allow us to help pay for some of their tuition or fees. Do a short-term training program that gives them an opportunity to re-enter into a high-demand field that is going to hopefully provide them a livable, stable wage,” he said.

Sharpe said, depending on the program and the institution, up to 100 percent of the fees and tuition can be paid for through government grants.

He also suggested that now could be the time for people to move from a job to a career.

“It is about finding them a career not just a job,” he said, “Even if it doesn’t require going to school or getting another skill set, is there a new opportunity? Is there a new company that you can get in on the ground floor and maybe there is advancement?”

Sharpe said the ultimately finding employment is individual.

“We want them to understand that going back to employment is about finding a job that is going to provide stability and support for their entire household,” he said.

Guests

Joe Sharpe, Project Director, One-Stop Career Center 

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