April 13, 2021

Quarterly Philadelphia Labor Market Report

Quarterly Philadelphia Labor Market Report

As part of our mission to develop and manage smart workforce solutions, Philadelphia Works conducts regular analysis on the state of Philadelphia’s labor market. This quarterly report offers insight into key measures of economic activity, providing leaders across public and private institutions an easy-to-access update on Philadelphia’s economy. In this edition, the Quarterly Labor Market Report discusses the changing nature of the COVID-19 economic recovery, highlighting continued improvements in hard-hit industry sectors.

Executive Summary

  • In 2021, Philadelphia’s overall labor market saw marginal improvements. Employment in the city remains down by nearly 50,000, while the size of the labor force continues to decline. Recent improvements in the unemployment rate have been caused by individuals deciding to no longer look for work, rather than the long-term unemployed finding new opportunities.
  • By industry, the Transportation, Construction, and Professional Services sectors have all experienced net increases in regional employment since the pandemic began. By November 2021, the Transportation sector alone had added more than 20,000 jobs in the Philadelphia MSA since February 2020.
  • Employer demand shows some signs of slowing. Unique job postings in the city have fallen each month for the last three months. This trend is mirrored in the number of new hires reported by Philadelphia employers. Nevertheless, demand remains strong compared to the same period in 2020.
  • Following national trends, the cost of labor in Philadelphia has increased as wages and salaries rise under demand pressures. Wages in the third quarter of 2021 were roughly 4% higher than the previous year. Nationally, increases have been most significant in the Leisure and Hospitality sector.
  • Philadelphia’s economy struggles with economic and racial injustice. By race and ethnicity, Philadelphians of color have been disproportionately affected by the current crisis.