When the economy was booming, the casino industry helped the Atlantic City area grow at a faster pace than the rest of the state and nation. Over the last few years, however, the tables have turned and the Atlantic City metro area is recovering slower than most other American cities.

On a list generated by U.S. News & World Report, the Atlantic City area ranked as the sixth-worst metropolitan area for finding a job. Five California communities took the list’s top spots.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, 140,300 were employed in Atlantic County last June, down two percent from a year prior.

A reverse ripple effect occurred throughout the area when the casino industry took a hit, according to Dr. Robert Perniciaro at Atlantic Cape Community College.

“Not only does the casino industry stagnate, but a lot of the other industries that feed off of it have stagnated as well,” he explained.

According to Perniciaro, competition is still a real problem for the Atlantic City casinos, despite recent reports that would suggest otherwise. Rival casinos have took real dollars away from the area, and investors have been hesitant about putting their money into Atlantic City.

Revel has been predicted to give a boost to the region. The $2 billion casino would hire thousands of workers. On the other hand, investors have announced fears of other casinos closing due to Revel’s arrival.

Perniciaro said blame for the lack of jobs should not only be aimed at the casino industry, but the local housing market as well. The area has served as a place for retirees and second homeowners. They were a driving force in the local economy, independent to the casino industry. The housing bust caused a drop in employment construction.

The Atlantic City area, and the south Jersey region, have long depended on the discretionary decisions of people in and out of New Jersey.

“People will come gamble, they’ll buy a second home, they’ll buy a retirement home. But they don’t have to do that, so we will be a little slower to recover.”

It has been projected Atlantic City will not return to peak employment levels for at least another five years.

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