COVID-19 Updated Market Insights for Philadelphia

Philadelphia – Losses put it Close to its Northeast Peers  

Philadelphia lost 403,100 jobs, or 15.4%, year over year as per the April results from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This rate of decline ranked 63rd of 82 metros, or in the bottom 20. Philadelphia’s rate of decline was better than Philadelphia (-16.5%), Central New Jersey (-17%) and nearly every other Northeast metrobut not as good as Baltimore (-13.4%) and those in the DC area that saw the smallest declines. Moreover, Philadelphia’s unemployment rate climbed to 14.2% in April which was in line with New York City’s 14.6% as well as the U.S. metro average rate of 14.4%. Note that these numbers are preliminary and subject to change in the next two months. 


Looking for additional insights? Explore our interactive COVID-19 map to analyze the potential impact on commercial real estate markets.


Of Philadelphia’s losses, 35.5% or 143,000 jobs were in the leisure and hospitality sector. This equates to a rate of decline of 59.3%. The retail sector shed another 35,100 jobs, a decline of 13.9%. Netting out these two concentrated sectors puts the remaining year-over-year rate of job decline at 10.6% which ranked 66th of 82 metros and nearly the same or better than its Northeast peers. 

Philadelphia’s office sector shed 38,400 jobs year over year, which was a rate of decline of 6%. This ranked 36th of 82 metros and better than all Northeast metros except Boston which shed only 3.6% of its office jobs. The metro average office year-over-year decline was 6.6% while the national rate of decline was 6.8%. 

To put these jobs in perspective, Philadelphia’s seasonally adjusted job gain over the last expansion was 275,900 jobs, a growth rate of 11.6%. The recent seasonally adjusted loss of jobs accounted for 154% of the gains in the recent expansion.  This means that for every job added over the last ten years in Philadelphia, 1.5 jobs were lost in the last two months. This ratio ranked 66th of 82 metros, again, in the bottom 20. More than 30 metros had a loss-to-previous-gain ratio above 100%. For the national average the recent loss represents a decline of 94% of the net gain during the expansion, while the metro average decline was 83% of the net expansion gain. 

Like much of the NortheastPhiladelphia’s COVID cases are on the decline as of early June. This could accelerate the opening of more of its economyMay employment numbers may not show much if any improvement for PhiladelphiaAlthough some leisure, hospitality and retail jobs will return when the full shutdown ends, other sectors will see layoffs if/when their payroll protection program loans run out. Thus, the outlook remains uncertain until the coronavirus is contained. Renewal of the PPP is critical, otherwise, job losses will rise further. 


You may also find our website dedicated to COVID-19 to be helpful during this time. Visit for our latest research and views on the credit and economic impact of COVID-19. This site brings together insights from across Moody’s to help you better understand the financial implications of the outbreak