LOS ANGELES — A study released today predicts the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will reverberate through the U.S. economy for years, wiping out more than 1.6 million jobs in 2002 alone.
The losses will hit cities with exposure to the tourism and airline sectors hardest, but will also spread across a wide range of industries, from dining to financial services, according to the Milken Institute, a Santa Monica-based economic think-tank.
New York City will lose nearly 150,000 jobs in 2002, followed by Los Angeles with 69,000 jobs, and Chicago with at least 68,000 jobs. Already, 248,000 jobs have been lost nationwide because of the attacks, the institute said.
"The attacks will be impacting economic activity as late as 2004," said Ross DeVol, director of regional studies at the Milken Institute and principal author of the report. "The good news is that many of those jobs should come back."
Las Vegas will prove the single most vulnerable metropolitan area, likely to see nearly 5 percent fewer jobs this year because of the attacks.
Casino workers have taken some of the toughest blows, with one of every 20 casino jobs in the Las Vegas area lost in the first six weeks after the attacks.
John Parker, a former housekeeping employee at the Rio hotel-casino, has been laid off since October and was at the Catholic Charities social services office Thursday looking for help with his $800-a-month rent.
"I sold everything I had in my house to pay for the rent in November and December," said Parker, 39, a single father of two children. That included his furniture and television.
Las Vegas hotels have managed to maintain high occupancy rates by offering discounts. In midweek, more than 80 percent of its 125,000 hotel rooms remain booked, and on weekends that figure tops 90 percent, said Erika Brandvik, a spokeswoman for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
"We do feel the impact, and it hurts," she said. "But nobody ever gets a long-term feeling of doom and gloom about the Las Vegas economy. We have a record of recovery."
Of the estimated 1.6 million job losses this year that the report ties to the terrorist attacks, 760,000 will be directly related to the attacks, with two-thirds of those in travel and tourism.
The largest drop-off will be in air transportation, accounting for about 20 percent of the lost jobs, the report said.
Spending on airline travel dropped 38 percent in September, a decline of $12.5 billion, and improved only modestly in October. The airline industry responded in October and November by cutting 81,000 jobs, or 6.2 percent of its total work force, and more deep cuts are on the way, the study says.