The eight-county, 3,700-square-mile region that includes southern Jersey has historically weathered economic uncertainty with its various assets ranging from ports and hospital systems to renowned higher education institutions and tourism, but when the coronavirus pandemic struck last year, each of these components was heavily iimpacted: Hospitals were bombarded with COVID-19 patients and associated financial costs, higher education institutions were operating under pressure, tourism was hampered, and ports in the region saw drastic cuts in the freight supply side , with, for exampleple, the South Jersey Port Corporation’s total volume increased from 4.07 million tonnes in 2019 to precisely 3 million tonnes in 2020.
Regardless of how one wants to quantify or qualify the overall South Jersey economy in 2021, there is a lot of positive news: this sumsea, the Jersey Shore was teeming with beachgoers looking for outdoor and dining experiences, Atlantic City’s gaming business has surpassed that of many previous years, and regional economic development projects are on the rise. remained in motion. On the latter Point, South Jersey Ports will receive a $ 9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to increase its barge capacity and intermodal rail connectivity to the Port of Salem, and, in the health arena, Virtua Health announced in july Â«tranformative renovations âfor its Virtua Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden and for its Virtua Memorial Hospital in Mount Holly. Another hospital system – AtlantiCare – plans a $ 75 million expansion of AtlantiCare Regional medical center (ARMC) Continental campus, in Pomona.
Tourism, games and Atlantic City
While the above is only a sample of economic development projects, the harsh realities and lingering effects of the pandemic cannot be overstated. Atlantic City, for example, has lost 21,100 jobs in 2020 compared to 2019, contributing to a 16% drop in Atlantic City’s employment base in the region, with profoundly negative impacts for many residents and businesses.
Noting that about half of the jobs were related to Atlantic City casino hotels, Oliver D. Cooke, PhD, and Associate Professor of Economics at Stockton University, comments: âThat’s a lot of jobs to catch up on. He adds: âOne of the big questions that will weigh on the regional economy as we move towards the end of 2021, beginning of 2022, is: get to staff levels in casinos? [Do] do they bounce or not?
As of May 2021, Atlantic City casino hotels employed a total of 21,993 workers, and as this cannot be compared to May 2020 as the casinos were closed at that time due to the pandemic, statistics reveal that casinos employed 4,457 more workers (a total of 26,450 employees) as of February 2020. This is not entirely an apples-to-apples comparison, however, as official figures from July 2020 to May 2021 include a large number of indpeople on leave due to COVID-19.
What could potentially fuel an upturn in employment at Atlantic City casino hotels is revealed by recent gaming statistics:illion, which broke a previous record of $ 340.5 million set in July 2011. Although relatively new, internet and sports betting contributed significantly to the increase. Standard physical and physical casino activity also increased in June 2021 to 214.5 million, exceeding activity for five of the last six months of June (2015-2020), with the exception of June 2019, which recorded $ 236 million in physical revenue.
The owner and operator of the Caesars Entertainment, Inc. casino routes the money to Atlantic City. (Cesars, Harrah’s Resort and Tropicana Atlantic City), which detailed in April a $ 400 million investment in a master plan in Atlantic City. It started this summer with a $ 170 million renovation of rooms and suites at Caesars and Harrah’s. The company says of its large-scale master plan: âThese developments will strengthen [Atlantic Cityâs] position as a Las Vegas-style destination market with an emphasis on revitalizing the famous Atlantic City Boardwalk. Meanwhile, a different casino – Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa – opened “a new restaurant concept” called the American Bar & Grille, in June.
An even larger development project in South Jersey includes the hope of a rail line from downtown Camden to Glassboro.