Las Vegas Convention Business Up From Last Year - 8 News NOW

Las Vegas Convention Business Up From Last Year

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LAS VEGAS -- CES, the Consumer Electronics Show begins Thursday. It is one of the valley's largest conventions. It's expected to draw 126,000 visitors. It's also keeping thousands of local teamsters and laborers busy.

The convention center's recovering business is giving local workers some job security. Inside the center, CES will highlight the latest in consumer electronics and bring the eyes of the global media to Las Vegas.

The laborers and teamsters who construct much of the inside were glad to keep their jobs during the recession and are now breathing a little easier.

With 2,700 exhibitors filling 1.6 million square feet of space, somebody's got to lay the groundwork for the CES kickoff on Thursday. Convention contractor GES was able to keep their employee numbers even at 1,500 through the recession. James Coburn is one of their journeymen.

"I'm glad anybody's working anymore. We're thrilled that we have this opportunity to have the rest of the nation coming here and bring us their items," said Coburn.

Those items -- the latest in electronics -- are waiting to be unveiled to the world. Each exhibitor brought their own teams of workers to set up their booths. But it's the locally based laborers that do most of the major set-up work. Teamster David Lee has worked 30 years in the convention business. He's retiring in a few months and says he's seen it all.

"A day in the life would be come here, work hard, go home, go to bed, get up and do it again. But, thank God we have shows here year-round," said Teamster David Lee, Coastal Company. "You've got to be able to work. You can't come to work and say, I want to go home. There's none of that. You've got to come here and support this industry because this industry supports Las Vegas."

Their work impresses major convention organizers enough for them to keep coming back to Las Vegas.

"We view Las Vegas as the best city in the world for conventions. The fact the workers here, the people here, all come behind and support, in terms of them being friendly, the skilled labor force, the fact that very rarely is there a worker incident," said Gary Shapiro, CEA president.

CES will continue through Sunday. It is not open to the public, only industry professionals. But that still means an estimated 126,000 people filling Las Vegas stores, restaurants and roads.

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