Philadelphia Economic Growth Among Worst Worldwide

Of the globe's 300 largest metro areas, the local economy comes in 250th.
Photo credit: Daniel Ge via Flickr.

Photo credit: Daniel Ge via Flickr.

The Philadelphia metro area was ranked 250th for economic growth from 2013 to 2014 in a survey by the Brookings Institution of the world’s 300 biggest metropolitan economies.

Ouch. That’s in the bottom 20 percent.

The report also says our region has not recovered from the recession, determined by the fact that our GDP per capita and employment were lower in 2014 than in 2007. Only 60 other metros in the world have failed to recover in either indicator.

The paper’s authors judged the economic growth of a metro by looking at how its GDP per capita and employment changed from 2013 to 2014. Of course, there are lots of other metrics they could have also used, such as housing prices or the distribution of income growth. Nonetheless, the Philly region’s GDP per capita fell by .5 percent between 2013 and 2014, and employment grew by only .7 percent.

That’s the bad news. Onto the good news: We fare much better if you look at a snapshot of our economic measures in 2014 compared to the rest of the world. The Philly region was ranked 26th of the globe’s 300 largest metro economies for GDP, 42nd for GDP per capita (it’s $57,166) and 58th for employment.

In other words, the Philly metro area is wealthier than its peers around the globe, but not growing as quickly.

The top-ranked metro for economic growth was the Chinese territory Macau, where the GDP per capita increased by 8 percent and employment went up by 4.2 percent from 2013 to 2014. Most of the fastest-growing metros in the world were in developing areas, which is, of course, a familiar tale.

But according to Joseph Parilla, one of the report’s authors, the Philly metropolitan area isn’t doing well in terms of economic growth compared to its American peers, either. He says growth in the Philly region’s GDP per capita and employment were both slower than in the average big U.S. metro. And it’s possible for U.S. metros to post big numbers even in comparison to metropolises in developing nations. For instance, the Austin, Houston, Raleigh and Fresno metro areas were all ranked among the world’s 50 fastest-growing metros.