Oct 14, 2021 - Business

Philly businesses see "pretty modest" pandemic recovery

Illustration of a hand in a suit handing out a tiny dollar
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Mid-size and large Philadelphia businesses have become significantly more financially stable since pandemic-driven shutdowns began last year, according to a new report.

  • But small businesses have only seen marginal improvements.

Driving the news: Pew Charitable Trusts on Wednesday released its snapshot of how businesses are faring since March 2020.

  • The research suggests health care and social assistance businesses — the city's largest job sector — saw top gains in average financial stability, while hospitality businesses, like restaurants and hotels, showed higher risks of failing over the next year.
  • Meanwhile, women-led and women-owned businesses had lower financial stability scores on average compared to those led and owned by men, the report found.

Details: Pew tracked upwards of 20,000 businesses on a variety of issues — including credit and delinquency status, employment trends and wages— from January 2020 through this past June.

  • Most businesses have fewer than 100 employees.

What they're saying: Improvements to overall business health in the city were "pretty modest" and varied a lot by sectors, the report's lead researcher Thomas Ginsberg said. But he added, "We're moving in the right direction."

  • "There's lots of bumps on the road, as we're seeing … with COVID and the Delta variant and all these things going on — that's going to affect all of these numbers," he told Axios.

Between the lines: Both Philadelphians and businesses in the city are spending more.

  • Philadelphia-based consumer spending rose more than 32% at businesses with fewer than 500 employees since January 2020, according to the report.
  • Median business spending was up 38.5% compared to January 2020, an indication that a business is growing, taking on greater risk or both.

Of note: The number of jobs in Philly dropped by roughly 8% compared to pre-pandemic levels in June 2019.

  • And aggregate wages dipped by 7% compared to the same time in 2019, according to the report.

View the full dashboard.

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