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1.5 Million US Jobs Lost Because of September Terror Attacks

More than 1.5 million jobs will be lost in the United States because of September's terrorist attacks, according to a study released Friday. The Milken Institute in Santa Monica, California, says the hardest hit cities, after New York, are those that depend on tourism.

New York will lose nearly 150,000 jobs as a direct result of the attacks on the city's World Trade Center, according to Ross DeVol of the Milken Institute, a private research center. The nation's 2nd and 3rd largest cities, Los Angeles and Chicago, follow with nearly 70,000 jobs lost.

Throughout the United States, says Mr. DeVol, the terror attacks have slowed an economy that was already in recession. "Nationally there will be 1.6 million less jobs than there would have been if the terrorist attacks had not occurred for calendar year 2002," he said.

Tourism centers will suffer the most, including Las Vegas, a gambling mecca in the Nevada desert. The researcher says the western city could have nearly five percent fewer jobs this year. "Las Vegas, in percentage terms, is the most impacted simply because it is such a major tourist destination and it has a lot of foreign visitation," he explained.

Most foreign and domestic visitors reach Las Vegas by air, and leisure air travel has dropped in the wake of the terror attacks. The East Coast resort city of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is also expected to suffer serious job losses in 2002.

The economist says the attacks are having a negative impact in some unexpected places, such as Wichita, Kansas. That aircraft-manufacturing center will lose nearly three percent of the jobs that were otherwise projected for this year.

Los Angeles resident Elizabeth Schultz is working, but she says that she and her family are watching their money. "We're being much more cautious and planning ahead a little bit more and just spending less," she said.

For hotel worker Martin Lopez, a reduction in working hours means smaller paychecks. "We're still working but our hours are cut from day to day," he said. "We're scheduled to work eight hours and then we have to go home earlier because the percentages [profits] are not what they've been for years, and definitely it has been a big impact economically."

Economists say the United States should emerge from its current recession my mid-year. But Mr. DeVol and his colleagues say for some cities, like New York, full recovery may take as long as two years.