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

  • Philadelphia’s labor market continues to experience the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis. By August 2021, employment of Philadelphia residents has seen virtually no improvements since 2020. More than 63,000 fewer Philadelphians were employed relative to February 2020.
  • By industry, the Accommodation and Food Service sector has experienced the most significant impacts, losing more than 30,000 jobs since February 2020. However, since our last update in April, demand in this sector has increased dramatically, in some cases outpacing available workers. Because of this labor shortage, we see evidence nationally that employers in this sector are raising wages.
  • Despite early losses among low-wage and low-skill employment, demand for high-skill workers remained strong throughout the pandemic. This was especially true in healthcare and information technology. 
  • Employer demand dipped in September 2021. Month-over-month job postings declined for the first time since November 2020.
  • Beyond the current crisis, Philadelphia’s economy struggles with economic and racial injustice. By race and ethnicity, Philadelphians of color continue to experience disproportionately negative employment outcomes and have been disproportionately affected by the current crisis.