I don't know how I missed this one. Cleveland's casino opened just under a few months ago and already there are reports that the new employees are quitting in droves. Well, OK, that's not all that surprising on the surface. The service industry is a sucky place to work. The pay probably isn't very good. The hours probably aren't very good. The customers probably feel entitled and treat the employees like dirt. I get it - I worked enough summers earning minimum wage at an amusement park to know the reality of these jobs.

(from Erik Daniel Drost on Flickr)

But the thing is... Cleveland's casino was supposed  to be a godsend to the city because of the 1,600 new jobs it was going  to "create" in a city where people are desperate for jobs. More than a few times I heard a phrase that went something like "the people who really hit the jackpot at the new casino are the people who found jobs after being unemployed."

These clearly aren't the kinds of "good" jobs that politicians love to talk about on the stump. They are a lot of crappy jobs, the kind of crappy jobs that people aren't willing to do even in a high unemployment environment.

When it comes to casinos, supporters have made one point abundantly clear: no matter how you feel about gambling, surely you support jobs, right? Nobody is going to say they don't; but this makes it pretty clear that not all jobs are created equal.

Local policy makers can either focus on "jobs" or they can focus on "good jobs". You can get "jobs" by doing something as simple as plopping a gambling hall in the middle of town; but getting "good jobs" requires different and more complex investments in people and places.


    On July 09, 2012 Anonymous said...

    The mere fact that a job is "casino" does not, in itself, mean it is a "bad job".

    Certainly, we can look at a casino as nothing more than a mechanism for shifting wealth from away the mathematically inept, but by itself does that mean that the company doing it would offer below-market compensation to employees?

    The clientele of a casino, as a whole, walks out minus some money, but with the feeling that they have had a good time- nothing less than what they do in the rest of the entertainment industry.

    So rather than assume that "bad jobs" are automatically the case, shouldn't we ask, why? Is it general, or is specific to this casino? What factors are at work here?