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Nevada jobs to be among hardest hit by coronavirus, study finds

With Las Vegas shutting down over fears of the new coronavirus, the valley’s main economic engine — tourism — has effectively gone dark.

Casinos have closed, conventions have been canceled or postponed, retailers have locked their doors and other businesses have slashed operations.

All told, hundreds of thousands of Nevadans work in industries now rocked by sweeping closures — and that doesn’t account for all the people in other sectors that feed off them.

Millions of U.S. jobs could be lost over the fallout from the public health crisis, though some industries will be disproportionately hit, especially food service, accommodations and brick-and-mortar retail, Economic Policy Institute analysts David Cooper and Julia Wolfe wrote in a recent post.

States where these industries comprise a bigger chunk of the workforce, such as Florida, Hawaii and Nevada, “will be particularly hard hit,” they wrote, adding the Silver State “will likely lose” 5.3 percent of its private-sector jobs — more than 66,650 positions. (RELATED: SEE WHO’S HIRING HERE)

Nevada’s possible job loss, as a share of the workforce, is the largest in the nation as projected by the institute.

Statewide, an estimated 355,300 people, or almost 25 percent of Nevada’s total labor market, worked in leisure and hospitality as of January, according to seasonally adjusted data from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

It’s by far the largest source of employment in the state, with professional and business services, at 203,400 workers, a distant second.

The retail trade, which includes clothing shops, furniture dealers and others, employed an estimated 147,800 people in January, fourth most in Nevada, comprising 10.3 percent of the labor pool.

Resorts on the Strip were already closing when Gov. Steve Sisolak announced on Tuesday night that casinos, movie theaters, malls and other “nonessential” businesses in Nevada should close for 30 days.

State officials later released guidance showing that supermarkets, big-box stores, hardware shops and some other retailers are deemed “essential.”

DETR spokeswoman Rosa Mendez said Thursday the department does not have new unemployment data to report yet.

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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