The Atlantic City region lost 9,900 jobs over the past 12 months, battered by the closure of four of Atlantic City's 12 casinos, according to data released Tuesday.
The decline announced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was the largest non-farm job loss of 318 metropolitan areas studied by the bureau.
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The next greatest loss was in the Davenport, Iowa area, which lost 2,200 jobs over the same period.
The Atlantic City area, which includes Hammonton, also had the highest percentage of job losses at 7.3 percent. Ocean City was down 3.4 percent.
A fifth casino, the Trump Taj Mahal, is scheduled to close Dec. 20, putting an additional 3,000 people out of work. The casino closings have accounted for 8,000 lost jobs this year.
The numbers come as New Jersey is considering numerous ways to help the struggling seaside resort. A package of bills introduced by state Senate President Steven Sweeney would let casinos pay $150 million a year in lieu of property taxes for two years, then $120 million a year for the next 13 years. An investment tax currently used for redevelopment projects would be redirected to help pay down Atlantic City's debt.
Also on Tuesday, the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism released a study of Atlantic City tourism indicators that reflected the economic impact of three casino closings in the 3rd quarter of this year. The center, part of Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, found that the city's luxury tax and hotel occupancy fee hit new highs in August.
But then the rapid-fire closings of the Showboat (Aug. 31), Revel (Sept. 2) and Trump Plaza (Sept. 16) took place, sending the numbers plummeting.
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC