Philadelphia’s Fiscal Future

A special series on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the city’s economy and budget, and what may lie ahead for recovery and growth

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Philadelphia’s economy was performing well in the decade before the pandemic—matching and, in some years, outperforming the nation in job generation. But COVID-19 halted that progress, and the city’s recovery has lagged that of the national economy. That’s especially troubling given that Philadelphia’s pre-pandemic job growth did not extend to workers of color in the city.

What caused the lag? And what does it mean for Philadelphians—especially those who have historically been left behind?

To look at Philadelphia’s changing economy and explore the range of opportunities, risks, and responses that city leaders face, The Pew Charitable Trusts, in partnership with the William Penn Foundation, has created “Philadelphia’s Fiscal Future.” This series of reports and analyses provides data and insight to inform the tough decisions and opportunities that lie ahead for city leaders—and for those who live and work in Philadelphia—especially when it comes to building a more equitable city. The series’ four primary reports are highlighted below, with other related research organized under specific categories.

A view of Philadelphia, Pa., west of the Schuylkill River on January 29, 2021
A view of Philadelphia, Pa., west of the Schuylkill River on January 29, 2021
Issue Brief

The Pandemic's Effects on Philadelphia's Economy and Jobs

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Issue Brief

As Philadelphia leaders try to predict what shape the city’s economy will take over the next few years, the biggest unknowns are how long, and in what ways, the COVID-19 pandemic will affect workers and residents.

Report

Philadelphia's Tax Burden Differs by Size and Sector

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Report

Business taxes are a perennial subject of debate in Philadelphia. Critics say they’re an obstacle to economic growth; defenders call them a way to make businesses pay their fair share. Underlying these arguments are basic questions about how the taxes impact various businesses: Are some industry sectors hit harder than others? Do small businesses bear a heavier tax burden than large corporations? How many pay no business tax at all?

Philadelphia crosswalk
Philadelphia crosswalk
Issue Brief

Employment Patterns and Philadelphia's Operating Budget

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Issue Brief

In the first of a series of briefs examining Philadelphia’s fiscal future, The Pew Charitable Trusts looked at how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the city’s economy.

Looking up at Philadelphia buildings
Looking up at Philadelphia buildings
Issue Brief

5 Key Economic Trends for Philadelphia

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Issue Brief

This is a pivotal moment for Philadelphia. More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the decisions local leaders make now—about attracting and retaining residents, bolstering the workforce, and adjusting tax structures to reflect new realities like remote work—will greatly affect Philadelphia’s ability to thrive and become a more equitable city.

City Budget and Tax Policy

The Health of Local Businesses

Have questions about Pew’s research on Philadelphia’s fiscal future? Contact us at [email protected].

National Homeownership Month

Article

37 Researchers Working to Transform Biomedical Science

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Article

Biomedical researchers are on the front lines of scientific innovation. From responding to global pandemics to pioneering lifesaving cancer treatments, these researchers push past scientific boundaries to solve pressing health challenges. For nearly 40 years, The Pew Charitable Trusts has supported more than 1,000 early-career biomedical scientists committed to this discovery.

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5.8%

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The percentage decline in the number of jobs in Philadelphia from December 2019 through March 2022. TWEET

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Before March 2020, Black Philadelphians held 29% of jobs in the city. TWEET

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As of September 2021, Black residents have experienced 35% of pandemic-related job losses. TWEET

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70,000

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The potential gap in the number of jobs in Philadelphia between the rosiest recovery scenario and the least optimistic one. TWEET
Philadelphia Skyline
Philadelphia Skyline
Data Visualization

Pew Dashboard Tracks Philadelphia's Economic Recovery

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Data Visualization

Philadelphia’s recovery from the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is a complicated and high-stakes journey for its residents, workers, employers, and policymakers. The city’s progress, including any growth, can be tracked by the ever-changing health of its businesses, the jobs they offer, the wages they pay, and what their customers spend. This dashboard provides 10 charts on local businesses and jobs at each quarter or month, starting before the pandemic-driven shutdowns in March 2020 and continuing to the present. They are assembled from various data sources and will be updated quarterly. The dashboard also includes two other charts for reference: profiles of the businesses and populations in each ZIP code area before the pandemic.

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Learn the Basics of Broadband from Our Limited Series

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How does broadband internet reach our homes, phones, and tablets? What kind of infrastructure connects us all together? What are the major barriers to broadband access for American communities?

What Is Antibiotic Resistance—and How Can We Fight It?

Sign up for our four-week email series The Race Against Resistance.

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Antibiotic-resistant bacteria, also known as “superbugs,” are a major threat to modern medicine. But how does resistance work, and what can we do to slow the spread? Read personal stories, expert accounts, and more for the answers to those questions in our four-week email series: Slowing Superbugs.