It appears Atlantic City is on its way back to prominence.
Not only because two new casinos opened along the Boardwalk in June. Not just because legal NJ sports betting is alive and well. Probably the best sign of revitalization on the Jersey Shore is the job market.
According to a story by the Press of Atlantic City, the nine AC casinos have helped push the industry’s employment total to more than 30,000, a mark not seen in four years.
Big summer breathes life into AC
The two properties were seen as potential saviors for an area that had been downtrodden in recent years. Between 2014 and 2016, five NJ casinos closed their doors, signifying a dark time along the Boardwalk.
In late-June, however, Ocean Resort and Hard Rock AC both debuted in Atlantic City. Now, at least in terms of the workforce, the times have certainly changed.
Statistics released by the NJ Division of Gaming Enforcement indicated that 30,217 people were employed by AC’s nine casino hotels in July. That figure that includes full- and part-time employees.
The two newest properties alone accounted for 8,184 jobs last month, reflecting 27 percent of the industry’s total. Aside from Borgata (with 5,938 employees), Hard Rock (4,393) and Ocean Resort (3,791) are the second- and third-largest employers in the area.
Rebuilding hype, rebuilding Atlantic City
Rummy Pandit, executive director of the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality & Tourism at Stockton University, gave the Press of AC a rosy outlook for the area.
With the Boardwalk beginning to enjoy a boom in headlines and popularity, there is ample opportunity to not only attract a new crowd of visitors but also lure back those who left the area several years ago.
“… with the creation of these new jobs the hope is that these individuals, and new participants in the casino labor market, will come back into the region. These employees are or will become residents, stimulating the local economy through their purchase of consumer goods and services.”
The spike in employment is one not seen in AC since 2014 when 11 casino hotels combined for more than 30,000 employees.
By the end of the year, however, the workforce dipped to 24,989. This was thanks to the closings of the Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, Revel Casino Hotel, Showboat Atlantic City, and Trump Plaza.
Making matters worse, once the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort was shuttered, the city’s casino employment stood at less than 22,000.
Clearly, though, the tables have been turned, and AC is back on the rise.
Casino Control Commission Chairman James Plousis said July’s casino employment figures reflect many rehires from the closed properties, veterans, and Atlantic City residents.
“I think everybody in the entire industry, as well as the whole region, can be very encouraged by those numbers,” said Plousis.