Apr 17, 2023 - Business

Philly's positive jobs picture

Data: BLS; Chart: Axios Visuals

The unemployment rate for Philly's metro area dropped to 3.8% in February, marking a significant fall over the past year.

Why it matters: The improvement is another signal of the region’s ongoing recovery from the pandemic, which led to the loss of more than 120,000 jobs during the first two months alone of COVID.

By the numbers: Our unemployment rate still trailed the national average in February (3.6%).

  • But we fared better than other large cities like Houston (4.3%) and Chicago (4.4%).

📉 Of note: In February 2022, the unemployment rate for our metro area was 5%.

Zoom in: Philadelphia proper made progress, too.

  • The city had an unemployment rate of 5.2% in February, down from 6.8% during the same period last year.

What they’re saying: Paul R. Levy, the Center City District's CEO, tells Axios the falling unemployment rate reflected the tight labor market and employers’ eagerness to hire.

  • But the city still suffers from a high level of poverty and has a significant number of people who have dropped out of the labor force — the latter of which are not reflected in the unemployment figures.
  • “We have by no means reduced Philadelphia’s really high poverty rate,” Levy said.

The big picture: The city's unemployment figures tend to closely track the national trend, with minor deviations driven by the local economic situation.


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