press release

Monitoring Philadelphia’s Economic Recovery, December 2021

JoAnn Loviglio
T 215.440.5546


Philadelphia’s Recovery Remains Slower Than Region, Latest CCD/CPDC Report Finds

PHILADELPHIA (December 16, 2021) – Philadelphia's gradual economic recovery continued through the fall. By October 2021, Philadelphia held 91% of the jobs that existed in February 2020, having regained 56,800 jobs from a low point of just 626,800 in April 2020. However, Philadelphia is still 66,600 jobs below its February 2020 level. On a seasonally adjusted basis, by October the city had recovered only 46% of the jobs lost from February to April 2020 and lags February 2020 employment in every sector, with hospitality, entertainment and restaurant industries still experiencing the greatest losses. By contrast, the 11-county region has recovered 71% of its jobs.

The just-updated Monitoring Philadelphia’s Economic Recovery monthly report from Center City District/Central Philadelphia Development Corporation, provides a snapshot of current conditions based on key economic indicators, commercial office and housing market trends, local tax revenues, transit ridership, parking volumes and pedestrian activity in Center City.

“The combination of job loss and remote work has caused City wage tax collections to remain below pre-pandemic levels. Losses are compounded because 47% of Center City workers and about 35% of citywide workers commute from the suburbs and are exempt from the wage tax, if they have been directed to remain at home,” CCD President Paul R. Levy said. “This highlights the need for Philadelphia to focus more on encouraging return-to-work, on business retention and on reducing the reliance on the wage tax. It also spotlights the opportunity to attract remote workers and firms from other cities, given our affordability, amenities and ease of access.”

Among the positive trends, SEPTA and PATCO ridership rose in October and November while Philadelphia International Airport passenger volumes have increased throughout much of 2021, with October domestic passengers at 96%, and international passengers at 53%, of the February 2020 level. Pedestrian volumes in Center City are steadily rebounding and are now at 75% of January 2020 levels, higher on retail streets than in the West Market Street office district.  But there has also been a notable increase in non-resident workers, up a 51% between January and November 2021. Sales tax collections from Greater Center City retailers also increased while the Philadelphia housing market continued to show remarkable strength.

To read or download the 12-page report, visit


Center City District, a private-sector organization dedicated to making Center City Philadelphia clean, safe and attractive, is committed to maintaining Center City’s competitive edge as a regional employment center, a quality place to live, and a premier regional destination for dining, shopping and cultural attractions. Find us at and on Facebook and Twitter.