Once upon a time life was sweet in Las Vegas.
Jobs were abundant, tips for cocktail waitresses and blackjack dealers were fat and frequent, and new hotel casinos sprouted like weeds along the fabulous strip.
All that's history now as Vegas and Clark County, Nevada, grapple with the recession which has cut income by almost 50 percent, halted much new construction, and spawned countless bankruptcies, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Ten thousand residents of Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, left the area in 2008, the county's first population decline in more than 20 years, according to data from the Center for Business and Economic Research at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Unemployment spiked from 4 percent in May, 2007 to over 12.3 percent as of June, 2009.
Real estate prices have collapsed by 30 percent in the last year. In the good old days, from 2000 to 2006, the median price of an existing home climbed 122 percent, more than twice the national rate.
Blame the decline on the evaporating tourist trade — lifeblood of the gambling business — down 5.8 percent as of May, according to the Las Vegas Sun.
Business meetings and conventions have also stopped coming in their previously big numbers, down more than 25 percent over the previous year for the same period, the Sun reported.
Here's the good news: Las Vegas existing home sales set a record in June, with prices stabilizing for the first time in almost two years, the Sun reports.
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