Philadelphia’s Unemployment Rate Continues to Fall

It's down a full percentage point year-over-year.

Courtesy of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Director of Commerce.

Courtesy of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Director of Commerce.

The economic recovery in Philadelphia continues to show serious improvement.

Philadelphia’s unemployment rate fell to 6.5 percent in April, down from 7.1 percent in March and 7.5 percent in April 2015, according to newly released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Philadelphia added 4,300 jobs from March to April for a total of 687,100. That’s nearly 11,000 more jobs than in April 2014.

The strong job figures are the result of many things: population growth, increased business confidence and a variety of sectors thriving, said Alan Greenberger, deputy mayor for economic development.

“Our economy is relatively healthy, the population of the city is growing and people who are coming here are by-and-large are finding work,” said Greenberger. He said “eds and meds” and the leisure/tourism sectors have been particularly strong.

The strengthening economy is also getting the attention of media around the country — and the world.

“We are continuing to get great press nationally and internationally, which gives confidence to the businesses that are here and want to grow,”said Greenberger, “and confidence to people who want to stay here or move here.”

Philly is following a national trend. Jobless rates are down in 344 of 387 metro areas. Still, Philadelphia’s unemployment rate remains higher than the national rate of 5.4 percent — but that’s been the case “for decades” said Greenberger. Major cities generally have higher levels of poverty and unemployment than the norm, but Greenberger said he’s encouraged that the gap between the two is diminishing. (Philly is just 1.1 percent higher.)

One thing that could really help is adding more entry-level jobs.

“For poorer communities and less-educated communities, the push to get more entry level jobs in the economy is critical.” he said. “Renovating The Gallery means an expansion of retail jobs. Having Dietz & Watson build a plant here — it’s all building up that entry-level side of the job market.”