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LAS VEGAS-Wynn Resorts this week formally began accepting applications for 5,300 new jobs in Las Vegas. The hiring is associated its new resort here, Encore, a $2.2-billion addition scheduled to open in December 2008. The openings are in housekeeping, hotel operations, security, food and beverage, retail and casino operations.

Wynn is expecting an average of 12 applications for every position available, which would translate to 60,000 applications. For those without the computer necessary to apply online, Wynn says it will open an employment center equipped with 32 computer kiosks. It will be staffed by 100 employees fluent in numerous languages, including Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin and German.

The new jobs, for both Encore and Wynn Las Vegas, will help mitigate rising unemployment in the state, which hit 6.4% in June, a 14-year high. The last time the rate was higher than 6.4%, it was February 1994, according to the Nevada State Department of Unemployment.

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas is a 2,034 unit, all-suites resort. Looking much like the first, the high-rise tower will house a 72,000-sf casino, five new restaurants; 11 retail outlets; seven bars and lounges; a nightclub; a spa/salon, and 60,000 sf of meeting space. For comparison, the first tower has 2,716 rooms, a 111,000-sf casino; 22 food and beverage outlets; 200,000 sf of meeting space; 74,000-sf of retail, and a Ferrari and Maserati dealership.

In May, amid the declining economy, Wynn Resorts chief Steve Wynn told analysts that despite the company’s 20% drop in first quarter profit – which he attributed to “bad luck” at the tables—he would not offset the results by reducing his workforce or service levels.

“In my career I’ve never had a layoff, in Las Vegas or anywhere else, and don’t intend to do it [now],” Wynn told analysts. “We consider employee morale and the feeling of security our employees have is the most important asset the company owns, more than our buildings and even our concessions; and when you do layoffs, everybody left says ‘who’s next?’, and that’s completely negative and counterproductive to what we are trying to do. So no matter what the short-term fluctuations in the American economy are I am telling anybody who is interested in our company [that] under no circumstances—under no circumstances—will I give any consideration, even for a second, to changing service levels or disrupting our workforce.”

As well, Wynn said he’s gone through six slowdowns in Vegas prior to this one and this is as yet by no means the worst. “The thing to look at more than anything else is non-casino revenue, and year-to-date [including April] we are at $270.7 million versus $264.3 million last year,” he told analysts in May. Wynn is due to release its mid-year results later this week.

Earlier this month, Wynn reported preliminary second quarter numbers, saying it expected operating income at Wynn Las Vegas on a GAAP basis would come in somewhere between $18 million and $22 million, a two-thirds decrease from the second quarter of 2007, when operating income was $63.4 million on a GAAP basis. Within that, it appears non-casino revenue held up fairly well, RevPAR for the hotel coming in at $292, only 3% below 2Q07, according to Wynn.

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