It’s as if there’s a highly profitable poker game about to go down and there may not be enough players to fill the seats.
Atlantic City’s casino faithful are awaiting the opening of Hard Rock Atlantic City and Ocean Resort Casino, but word on the boardwalk is that there may not be enough unemployed workers around to fill the gaming tables, restaurants, and other open positions available at both properties.
In an interview with the Press of Atlantic City, UNITE HERE Local 54 President Bob McDevitt said the lack of a labor pool is a serious concern.
“Believe it or not, it’s going to be very difficult to fill those jobs. This is the tightest job market that I have seen,” McDevitt said.
Experts point to 2014 Atlantic City casino exodus
Atlantic City entered 2014 with 13 casinos in operation and, by the end of the year, the city was down to nine casinos. Five properties would eventually fold, gutting the city of its vitality and its workers, too.
It’s estimated, according to PoAC, that 10,000 workers left the city after those four casinos closed. Such a mass exodus now puts the city in a position where it may suffer once more because of that fateful year.
Yes, its new properties need workers but the wounds of 2014 may impede the rejuvenation.
The opinions of two experts are tenuous, at best
The PoAC article included insight from two experts of Atlantic City’s casinos and economy: Stockton University’s Rummy Pandit and economic analyst Jim Kennedy.
Pandit said one of the issues that could arise is a “mismatch” between the types of jobs being offered and the availability and expertise of those looking for work.
Part-time positions won’t attract those who need full-time jobs and vice versa.
Kennedy told the paper the city currently employs 21,800 people, more than 75 percent of whom are full-time workers. More than 37,000 people worked at the city’s casinos in the years leading up to the recession and subsequent casino contraction in 2014.
Hard Rock turning to old Taj employees
Since the Hard Rock announced it was planning to buy and build the former Trump Taj Mahal, one of AC’s closed casinos, the ownership group has made a clear and concerted effort to scoop up the Taj’s employees.
This past week, the casino group held a job fair specifically for employees who used to work at the Taj. According to PoAC, the casino sent out more than 1,600 letters or emails to Taj workers and 1,400 signed up for a time slot at the job fair.
Projected workforce for two NJ casinos: 6,500+
According to an April 2017 press release from Hard Rock International, the company planned on hiring 1,000 temporary construction workers to help with the renovation of the Taj as well as another 3,000 permanent jobs.
AC Ocean Walk, on the other hand, is planning to hire more than 2,500 permanent workers for its more than 300,000 square feet of gaming and meeting space.
“We are incredibly excited that we were able to take advantage of the opportunity to acquire this tremendous property at a time when Atlantic City is seeing great economic strides,” AC Ocean Walk Chairman Bruce Deifik said in the release.