|By Dale Kasler, The Sacramento Bee,
Calif.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Mar. 5, 2010--Thunder Valley Casino, close to wrapping up a major expansion, has begun taking applications for 600 new jobs.
The hiring represents one of the biggest economic boosts the capital region will have seen since the recession began.
It also marks a turnaround of sorts for the Lincoln casino, which in the winter of 2009 temporarily halted construction on the project, and then downsized it. It also imposed layoffs last spring.
"Clearly, the economy has rebounded relative to last year," said Doug Elmets, spokesman for the casino and its owner, the United Auburn Indian Community. "Relative to last year, business is financially better."
Layoffs have also occurred at Jackson Rancheria Casino in Jackson. Red Hawk Casino in Shingle Springs has reduced staffing, largely through attrition.
The Thunder Valley expansion, due to be completed in July, includes a 297-room hotel, a 40 percent increase in casino space, an entertainment venue, a spa, parking garage and more.
The hotel was originally going to be 24 stories tall. Then it was reduced to 15 stories. It will open with 12 stories, plus three "shelled" floors that could some day be built out, adding another 100 rooms or so.
Elmets said the tribe believes the hotel will broaden Thunder Valley's audience, especially in the Bay Area.
Thunder Valley officials said applications are being taken through the casino's Web site, www.thundervalleyresort. com. Interviews will begin this month and continue through March.
Thunder Valley currently employs 1,412 full-time and 356 part-time workers, Elmets said. Of the 600 new jobs, more than half will be full time.
Call The Bee's Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Read his blog on the economy, Home Front, at www.sacbee.com/blogs.
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