A new Pew Charitable Trusts report found that Philadelphia has seen a slower recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic compared to other cities and the national economy.
The report, titled "How the Pandemic Has Affected Philadelphia’s Economy and Jobs," investigated how COVID-19 impacted Philadelphia's employment rates and demographics.
As a result of the pandemic, Black workers, female workers, and non-college-educated workers all experienced disproportionately high shares of job losses from 2019 to 2021, according to the report.
Low-wage sectors in particular — such as the hospitality and retail sectors — saw increasing job loss, facing a 24.2% decrease while middle-wage and high-wage jobs were impacted significantly less with only 7% and 2% drops, respectively.
The report also considered the pandemic's long-term implications for the city's workers and residents.
Pandemic-related changes, such as working remotely from home, may have decreased the number of people commuting into the city — a new development that could reduce wages, sales, and business tax revenues by decreasing demand for office space, public transit, restaurants, and retail, the report said.
11,000 to 19,000 Philadelphia workers who didn’t work remotely prior to the pandemic will work from home by 2025, the study estimated. According to WHYY, this figure represents about 14% to 27% of the city's workers.
“The city’s economy has not yet fully recovered from the economic shock of the pandemic and we can be pretty confident that some of the changes brought on by that shock will be long-lasting,” senior adviser with The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Philadelphia research and policy initiative Larry Eichel told WHYY.
The study relates to a Center City District report released earlier this month, which found that some workers are hesitant to return to the city due to concerns over closed schools and childcare facilities, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. After two years of the pandemic, 21% of Center City and University City employers expect to decrease their physical real estate and office space and utilize virtual options, the Inquirer reported.
The Pew report is the first of a larger series called "Philadelphia's Fiscal Future." The next report will explore four different predictions for Philadelphia's economic development in the coming post-pandemic years, WHYY reported.