Dec 17, 2021 - Business

Pew data shows Philadelphia businesses inching toward recovery

Recreated from Pew; Chart: Axios Visuals
Recreated from Pew; Chart: Axios Visuals

Philadelphia's economy is recovering this year, but it's happening slowly, new data shows.

Driving the news: The city saw modest economic recovery from August through October, compared to this past spring and early summer, according to jobs and credit data analyzed by Pew Charitable Trusts.

  • Businesses that were delinquent — paying bills 31 or more days late — fell slightly, while median credit balances rose. Financial stability remained stagnant, and bankruptcy filings remained low.

Yes, but: The total number of jobs continues to be about 8% below pre-pandemic levels.

Zoom in: Here's a breakdown of where things stand by sector.

The troubled: Philly's hospitality industry, which includes the arts and entertainment businesses that took big hits during the pandemic, seems to be the shakiest sector.

  • Preliminary October employment figures were more than 30% below pre-pandemic levels.

The rebound: The strongest comeback appears to be the information sector — cable, internet and phone providers.

  • The latest figures show there were 4% more jobs in October than before the pandemic.

The resilient: Wholesale and transportation firms saw improvements in September as those sectors dealt with supply chain issues.

  • Employment was at 12% below pre-pandemic levels in October, but that's still an improvement compared to nearly 17% the same time last year.

What to watch: Neighborhood recovery is happening at different rates.

  • Center City East and University City are showing the strongest signs of recovery with their shares of businesses severely late on their bills continuing to fall and credit balances rising.
  • Manayunk's credit recovery slowed in September, when the neighborhood experienced intensive flooding from Hurricane Ida.
  • Businesses in Oxford Circle and Mayfair reached their highest delinquency share in September, while financial stability remains below the citywide average.

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