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These Out-of-Work Americans Tell Us Job Market Turmoil Is Anything But Transitory

Precious Briggs was laid off from her job as a server at a casino in Las Vegas in April of last year, at the start of the lockdowns. When restrictions lifted, she expected her former employer to summon her back, but the call never came.

While surveys show that many workers have abandoned the hospitality industry, Briggs, 32, says she loved her old job. “It was a dream of mine to leave my little Louisiana town and come here and cocktail,” she says. Other casinos have offered her part-time work at the state minimum wage of $9.75, well below the $14 an hour she used to make before tips. Her old job also came with health insurance and other benefits. “They’re hiring for positions that’s only one day a week, two days a week, and people cannot make it off of that,” she says.

Briggs, who exhausted all her unemployment and pandemic benefits, is getting by on rental assistance, Medicaid, and support from her family. As Vegas continues to reopen, she says she’s confident she will land a job.

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