Among the many promises that the casinos have made, they assured New
Mexico that casinos would create jobs, improve economic development and be "Good For
New Mexico." Most people, hearing these promises, would assume that this would mean
that casinos would reduce unemployment. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
According to New Mexico Department of Labor figures covering January
1994 to October 1996, the period during which casinos have been operating under the
invalid compacts signed by Governor Johnson, casino activity corresponds to a net increase
in unemployment for New Mexico at the same time the nation as a whole is enjoying a net
decrease in unemployment.
Unemployment did go down during 1994 from 7.1% to 6.3% as some
casino workers got new jobs, also corresponding to a previous trend in New Mexico of
reducing unemployment. The unemployment rate stayed at 6.3% during 1995, although,
according to casino statements, thousands of casino employees were added to the state
BY OCTOBER 1996, HOWEVER, THE STATE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE INCREASED TO
AN AVERAGE FOR THE YEAR OF 7.0. THIS REPRESENTS AN INCREASE OF OVER 11% MORE UNEMPLOYED
THAN IN 1995.
THE CASINOS HAVE PROMISED THAT CASINO ACTIVITY WOULD IMPROVE NEW
MEXICO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT.
CASINO OPPONENTS HAVE PREDICTED THAT THE CASINOS WOULD BE HARMFUL TO
THE NEW MEXICO ECONOMY.
WHO HAS BEEN RIGHT ON THE ECONOMY ISSUE?