As Las Vegas recovers from the great recession, the city’s main industry is evolving. The Las Vegas Strip and downtown properties historically drew the majority of their revenues from gaming. In the last few years, a shift in visitor spending has moved more dollars to restaurants and bars, with a 29.56 percent increase in alcohol sales alone. Because gaming revenues will probably never return to pre-recession levels, Las Vegas will need to embrace a new normal with visitors spending more on entertainment, restaurants and nightlife.

Jobs in the Las Vegas leisure and hospitality sector were up 1.5 percent in July from the same time last year. This category includes a variety of jobs requiring different levels of education in entertainment, recreation, accommodation, food service and casinos. With the exception of the fluctuation in seasonal jobs, overall job growth in the valley has been hovering around two percent (Nevada DETR). Las Vegas added 18,000 jobs relative to a year ago during the first seven months of 2013.

The Strip and downtown have several hotel and entertainment projects coming online in late 2013 and early 2014 that will boost jobs in the leisure hospitality sector. Later this fall downtown, Las Vegas welcomes the Downtown Grand, formerly The Lady Luck.

The hotel is currently accepting applications for over 800 jobs. On the Strip, the 500-million-dollar LINQ project, which includes over 200,000 square feet of entertainment, will open this December (with the LINQ ferris wheel opening later next year). LINQ expects to supply 1,500 full-time jobs. When SLS Las Vegas opens on the site of the old Sahara Hotel in early 2014, it hopes to employ 2,700 people. Gansevoort and Hershey’s Chocolate World are also slated to open in early 2014.

Hospitality jobs are more than just dealers, food servers and housekeeping services. A quick look at a list compiled by the Research and Analysis Bureau of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation shows opportunities in accounting, IT, sales, marketing and more. The list of the top 100 jobs in Nevada gives job seekers a broader glimpse at the types of jobs that will be available in the future as well as the training required. 

Christa Emmer is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in broadcast journalism. She has experience as a news writer, editor and producer in television news. Christa has been a Las Vegas resident for more than 20 years. Follow her on twitter @ChristaEmmer. Her work can be found at


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