About a decade ago, when the economy was seemingly rosy and full of promise, Krissy Clark was a reporter for Marketplace covering the boom in Las Vegas.
In the early days of her reporting career, Las Vegas was seen as “the new Detroit of America, because there were pretty well-paying jobs that you didn’t need a college education to qualify for.” It was a place where the “middle class dream was widely possible,” given the ubiquity of jobs in casinos and the service industry, which were considered a cornerstone of the American economy and the middle class. Then then market popped.
“Casinos were falling apart because no one was going anymore,” Clark said. She remembers “talking to people and hearing their experiences of feeling like they were achieving the American dream, they had climbed their way into the middle class and then the bottom falling out like that and then this disorientation — I had worked so hard to get here and now what has happened.”
Those conversations and others that f