Workers laid off by Revel and Showboat are facing an exceedingly tough job market, driving many to look for work outside of New Jersey.

Atlantic City casino closings
Photo credit NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development

Days after both casinos closed their doors for good, about 500 former employees flocked to a resource fair on Thursday at Convention Hall in Atlantic City.

The casino industry has been the backbone of Atlantic City's economy for decades, but with gambling suffering in recent years, many gaming houses have had to cut back. Having two fewer casinos in town -- four total for the year, by the end of this month -- only worsens the already difficult market, prompting many to consider seeking jobs outside the city.

"There's no point looking in the city right now," said Mark Hubbard, a former server at Revel. "I know with Showboat closing, everyone is pooling with Caesars' properties; those are three properties you won't be able to find work with."

Hubbard, a father of a newborn and a three-year-old, said like many of his former co-workers, he is thinking about leaving the state to find work.

"I know someone in Foxwoods and I know someone in Florida," he said. "My wife is from Poland, so we were talking about that too."

Many of the laid-off employees are banking on Revel and Showboat being bought and eventually reopening. They hope unemployment insurance will hold them over, or else they will have to leave the area.

"We have to wait at least three months," said Carlos Garcia, a former Revel employee who said he would go to Philadelphia, Maryland, or Florida if nothing turned up in Atlantic City.

Others who said they don't want to leave realize that they might have to work two or three part-time jobs to make up for the lost full-time job they once had.

The state Department of Labor and Workforce Development will remain at the Convention Center until Sept. 10, when it will host a career fair featuring 40 prospective employers. The Unite Here union, which represents many Atlantic City workers, will relocate its operations when Trump Plaza closes on Sept. 16.

Impacted workers are invited to visit, to view some 300,000 available positions within New Jersey and a 50-mile radius outside the state.

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