Philly Unemployment Declines

Via Philadelphia Business Journal: “Philadelphia’s unemployment rate declined once again. The rate fell to 8 percent in March 2014 from 8.3 percent in February, according to preliminary data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate is 2.1 percent lower than March 2013. The city added 4,000 jobs last month bringing the number of jobs in Philadelphia to its highest level for a March since 2003.”

The BLS statistics show, however, that Philly’s workforce is about 4,000 workers smaller than it was a year ago. While roughly 9,000 more Philadelphians are working, a good chunk of those jobs are in “leisure and hospitality” services — basically, low-paying restaurant work that is the fastest-growing job sector in the city.

Still, good news is good news: More Philadelphians are working, and fewer are unemployed, than a year ago. We’ll take what we can get.

Slate Says PA is “Most Linguistically Fascinating State in the Country”

dialect-map-pennsylvania

Slate today calls Pennsylvania the “most linguistically fascinating state in the country.” (We already knew that Philly’s accent is fascinating, but whatever.)

Pennsylvania, in case yinz didn’t know, is a regional dialect hotbed nonpareil. A typical state maintains two or three distinct, comprehensive dialects within its borders. Pennsylvania boasts five, each consisting of unique pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar elements. Of course, three of the five kind of get the shaft—sorry Erie, and no offense, Pennsylvania Dutch Country—because by far the most widely recognized Pennsylvania regional dialects are those associated with Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.

Read more »

Philadelphians Get to Work Late

silver-work-arrival-1

FiveThirtyEIght

Interesting bit of data from FiveThirtyEight: The median Philadelphian apparently gets to work at 8:05 a.m. every day. Which means we’re a sleepy bunch: The national median is 10 minutes earlier than that, at 7:55 a.m..

Not to worry: We’re a lot like other big cities. “The majority of highly populous metro areas begin working a little later than the rest of the country. Washington, D.C., starts work at a median time of 8:07 (although it is prompt: three-quarters of the workforce is in by 9:14). The median worker in Los Angeles begins at 8:05; in Atlanta, at 8:03; in Chicago, at 8:02.”

I’m Agnostic, and I’m Hoping Pope Francis Comes to Philadelphia

Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Let’s get something straight: I know the Pope is Catholic.

This means a few things: I never expect him to adopt the conventional American Liberal positions l hold. There will be no embrace of gay marriage by the church, there will be no permission for abortion, and Pope Francis’s term will not end with the ascension of Pope Mary I. We’re never going to agree on those things. It is what it is.

Still: I find that I’m increasingly a fan of this pope. That’s a bit weird to admit. I grew up among Mennonites who pretty explicitly traced their theological heritage to the Reformation; more recently I’ve simply been agnostic: God’s not really part of my life anymore. Catholicism doesn’t hold much appeal for me, generally. Pope Francis does, however — and so I am rooting for him to visit Philadelphia next year.

Why? His humility. And his attempts to bring the church in line with that quality.

Read more »

Six Design Ideas SEPTA Should Steal Now

Stockholm_subway_radhuset_940x540

A recent article on The Atlantic Cities website made a point that is at once obvious and rarely made: Good design and strong imagery can attract more riders to mass transit.

Call it “branding” if you must, but the point remains: Easy-to-identify symbols and attractive stations and shelters make transit systems easier to spot and more pleasant to use. And a system that’s easier to spot and more pleasant to use will end up with more people using it.

This was the main point of my recent commentary elsewhere on how design does matter in transit, too. In it, I argued that SEPTA could stand improvement in that department, especially on its subway-elevated system and signage. Some readers agreed strongly with that argument, while others disagreed vehemently.

Read more »

Exposed: Philly’s Big Banana Peel Problem

banana-peel-1

“When I’m walking with friends, they tell me it’s a little awkward for them,” says Frank Danay. “They’re the ones standing next to the guy who’s in the gutter taking pictures.”

Danay’s buddies know better than to compromise the process. He’s simply chronicling another day of potassium-rich existence on the streets of Philadelphia, an apparent national leader in the field of wayward banana peels.

Read more »

« Older Posts  |  Newer Posts »