Report: Center City Still Faces Challenges

Eds, meds, and tourism declined in 2013.

The Center City District on Tuesday released its annual State of Center City report with a mostly (but not completely) positive message.

Newsworks reports the state of Center City is good — but Paul Levy, the district’s director, says more jobs are needed.

Still, he said, there are problems. The city’s economy is still not growing as fast as that of the region and the nation.

“Our unemployment rate has been higher than all of our peers’. We just … surpassed Baltimore. That is, our rate came down, but we have an unforgivably high unemployment rate in the city and an even higher poverty rate,” Levy said.

The Inquirer found the darker details:

Employment in health care and education – the city’s biggest job creators – has been flattening and, in the first time in a decade, declined in 2013.

Even tourism, a major boom in recent years, is showing unevenness. While total hotel-room nights are up, 10 of the city’s 18 most important cultural attractions reported a drop in attendance in 2013. Losers included the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

“This is not meant to be a purely promotional report,” said Paul Levy, chief executive officer of the Center City District. “This is meant to be a look at our strengths and our challenges. The city is loads better than it was, but it is not yet fulfilling its full potential.”

The full report can be found here.