Philadelphia Metro Area Hits the Post-Industrial Top 10

There was a time when Philadelphia, the so-called Workshop of the World, and its surrounding towns and cities (see: Bethlehem, Allentown, et al.) produced more goods than services. Fabric Row, site of the terrible fire this weekend, represented that bygone way of life, when–in the 19th and early 20th centuries–Philadelphia was known as a dominant manufacturing hub for textiles, as well as tobacco, locomotives, carriages, dyes, iron and so much more.

Obviously, this economy has changed — not only in Philadelphia, but in the nation as a whole. Now, as Richard Florida reports in The Atlantic Cities, “for the U.S. economy as a whole, the ratio of services to goods is roughly 3 to 1 (3.22).”

But there is considerable geographic variation: 210 metros rank well above this average ratio — including 40 of the 50 largest metros (those with more than one million people) — and 154 are below the average.

Of the top 20 large metros (1 million-plus) that “score highest on the ratio of services to goods,” Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington is No. 10, with a ratio of 5.33.

As Florida points out, “many metros along the Bos-Wash corridor have high service to goods ratios: Boston ranks fifth, Baltimore sixth, Philadelphia 10th, Hartford 11th, and Providence 20th.” Next time you take Amtrak and look out the windows at abandoned industrial blight, you’ll remember this study.

America’s Most Post-Industrial Metros [The Atlantic Cities]