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Toni Irizarry in Conversation on the Economy of Las Vegas and 2024 Presidential Election

Amidst the relative normalcy in Las Vegas, there are mixed sentiments about the state of the economy. While some are celebrating the return of guests and the vibrancy of the casino industry, others are grappling with the strain of high prices and the uncertainty of the future. For Toni Irizarry, who oversees a cafe at the Orleans Hotel and Casino, the economy’s improvement has brought a sense of foreboding as she contemplates the future. Nevada, a state heavily reliant on the hospitality trade, has seen a sharp decrease in unemployment rates, but the lingering effects of the pandemic and the high costs of everyday items continue to weigh on the minds of many residents.

In a poll conducted in October, 57 percent of registered voters in battleground states identified the economy as the most important issue, with more than half describing economic conditions as “poor”. Although there has been an unambiguous strengthening of the American economy with rising incomes and low unemployment rates, fears of recession and high costs have left people feeling insecure. Nevada in particular, with 59 percent of those polled describing the economy as “poor”, reflects the anxiety that is prevalent among its residents.

Despite the challenges faced, there are signs of hope. Union workers in the hospitality industry have secured significant raises, which could potentially motivate them to turn out to vote in the next election. However, for those who lack the protection of a union, the economy remains subject to violent fluctuations, as seen in the case of individuals like Carlos Arias who found himself earning significantly less than before the pandemic.

Opinions on the state of the economy are varied, with some expressing hope and confidence in the future of the hospitality industry, while others like Toni Irizarry and Carlos Arias grapple with the uncertainties and challenges that lie ahead. These varying perspectives highlight the complex nature of the economic landscape and the different ways in which it impacts the lives of individuals.

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