May 25, 2016

Philadelphia’s Labor Force

Philadelphia’s Labor Force

How Many Working Age Adults Are in the Labor Force?

With steady population growth, the labor force participation rate in Philadelphia also increased since 2010. In 2013, 742,322* Philadelphians 16 years old and over were in the labor force; a 2 percent increase since 2012 and an 11.5 percent increase since 2007. The labor force participation rate in Philadelphia remained 3 or more percentage points below Pennsylvania throughout the Great Recession and in every year since. 

POPULATION 16 YEARS OLD AND OVER IN PHILADELPHIA AND PENNSYLVANIA

Source: Philadelphia Works analysis of the American Community Survey 1 year data from 2007 to 2013.  The labor force status is self-reported. Error bars show the margins of error. 

LAUS estimates of unemployment rates tend to be lower – please visit the Fast Facts page for comparisons of unemployment rates across time. 

How Does the Labor Force Status Vary by Age?

The unemployment rate for adults 16 and older was 15.3 percent in Philadelphia and 8.8 percent in Pennsylvania, according to the data collected during 2011 through 2013. Compared with Pennsylvania, Philadelphia had a higher unemployment rate and a lower labor force participation rate for every age category according to the 2011-2013 American Community Survey. The unemployment for younger adults 16 to 19 years old was much higher than in Pennsylvania as a whole. Younger adults just entering the labor market struggled to find work, compared to all adults – the unemployment rates for young adults 16 to 19 years old and 20 to 24 years old in Philadelphia were 30 and 11 percentage points higher compared to all Philadelphians 16 and over.

59 percent of Philadelphia adults 16 and over participated in the labor force, below the 62.8 percent of the same aged adults in Pennsylvania.  Labor force participation varied by age – it is the highest for prime working age adults ages 25 to 64.

Do Men and Women Participate in the Labor Force at Varying Rates? 

Across both Pennsylvania and Philadelphia, there is a gender gap in both unemployment and labor force participation rates. Men have a higher unemployment rate and a higher labor force participation rate than women.  However the gender gap in Philadelphia is slightly wider than the state average in unemployment rates (2.6 percent compared to 1.1 percent) while it is somewhat narrower for labor force participation (3 percent compared to 7.7 percent). Lower percentages of men and women participated in the labor force in Philadelphia in comparison with all residents of Pennsylvania. 

POPULATION 20 TO 64 BY GENDER IN PHILADELPHIA AND PENNSYLVANIA

Source: the 2011-2013 American Community Survey 3 year data American Fact Finder table S2301. Percentages are estimates only and have margins of error.

How Are Education and Work Related? 

Adults with more education have lower unemployment and participate in the labor market at higher rates. This trend is true for both Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. Though more adults 25 to 64 years old in Philadelphia could not find work and less were participating in the labor force than the state average, the gaps were smaller for individuals with higher educational attainment. The unemployment rate for adults 25 to 64 with less than a high school degree in Philadelphia was 24.6 percent — much higher than for the same group across Pennsylvania (15.9 percent). 

How does the Labor Force Status Vary across Race/Ethnicity Groups? 

Across all race/ethnicity groups ages 25 to 64, Non-Hispanic Black or African American had the highest unemployment rate in both Philadelphia (17.7 percent) and Pennsylvania (15.4 percent). In Philadelphia, Non-Hispanic Others had the lowest labor force participation rate at 63.1 percent, while in Pennsylvania, Non-Hispanic Black or African American had the lowest at 68.6 percent. Compared with Pennsylvania, the unemployment rates were higher and the labor force participation rates were lower in Philadelphia across all race/ethnicity groups. 

How Do the Labor Force Participation and Unemployment Rates Vary across Philadelphia? 

According to the 2009-2013 American Community Survey, 59.2 percent of Philadelphians 16 years old and over were in the labor force and 15.1 percent of them could not find work, according to the data collected across 5 years from 2008-2012 and capturing the Great Recession and the recovery period. 

In the map below, red, yellow, and green indicate high, moderate and low unemployment rates respectively.  The Center City, Roxborough/Manayunk, and Upper Northeast neighborhoods have low unemployment rates, while Upper North, Kensington, Olney/Oak Lane,  West and Southwest Philadelphia have higher unemployment rates.

On the labor force participation map following, green indicates a high labor force participation rate.  Yellow and red indicate moderate and low labor force participation rates. Most parts of the city have a moderate labor force participation rate (51-65 percent). Grey areas mean that the population is not dense enough to make a good estimate of unemployment rate/labor force participation rate. 

UNEMPLOYMENT RATE BY CENSUS TRACT FOR POPULATION 16 AND OVER WITH NEIGHBORHOOD OVERLAY

Source: Philadelphia Works analysis of the 2009-2013 American Community Survey data.Percentages are estimates only and have margins of error.

LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE BY CENSUS TRACT FOR POPULATION 16 AND OVER WITH NEIGHBORHOOD OVERLAY

Source: Philadelphia Works analysis of the 2009-2013 American Community Survey data. Percentages are estimates only and have margins of error.

 On February 6, 2015, the figure corresponding to the number of adults in the labor force was corrected from 1,243,421 to 742,322.