By Fall 2023, Philadelphia’s economy has emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic tasked with navigating the “new normal”. While overall employment has recovered at or beyond pre-COVID levels in most industries, Philadelphia business leaders & residents have been navigating economic uncertainty surrounding inflation, rising interest rates, and labor shortages. From this report, Philadelphia Works hopes to highlight a few main economic trends:
- Summer 2023 saw an uptick in the unemployment rate in Philadelphia County. From June to August, the unemployment rate in Philadelphia County rose by 0.8 percentage points to reach 5.4%. In comparison, the unemployment rate had fallen 0.6 percentage points from January to June 2023.
- Despite the uptick in the unemployment rate, the growing labor force in Philadelphia bodes well for the economy. The labor force grew by roughly 7,100 from June to August 2023 – over twice the amount added from January to June.
- Inflation in Philadelphia as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) stood at 3.9% in August 2023, well below the August 2022 reading of 8.1%.
- While overall average wage growth has cooled in Philadelphia, the overall cost of labor (both wages and benefits) has risen in the region. The Employment Cost Index (ECI) in Philadelphia rose 6.6% year-over-year in the second quarter of 2023, compared to 3.9% year-over-year the same time last year.