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By the end of 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 and economic activity continues. While inflation has largely cooled since last summer with minimal upticks in unemployment:

Executive Summary

  • The unemployment rate hit a record low of 3.7% in December 2023 in Philadelphia, with a coinciding record low in total unemployed. Over the fourth quarter of 2023, the total number of unemployed Philadelphians fell by roughly 4,500, while the total number of employed decreased by about 1,700.
  • As a result of the changes in total employed and unemployed, the overall labor force fell by roughly 6,200 over the duration of the fourth quarter. However, as of December 2023, the labor force was still at a year-over-year positive.
  • Inflation as measured by the year-over-year change in CPI stood at 3.9% in Philadelphia as of December 2023, higher than that of the United States (3.3%).
  • Average hourly wages of private employed in Philadelphia County fell at a rate of -6.2% in Philadelphia County as of December 2023. Utilizing average hourly wages as a measurement of wage growth, Philadelphia County has seen a decline in year-over-year growth rates compared to the overall metro area and the United States.

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