Metro of the Month: Philadelphia


The Philadelphia area’s economy has long relied on its sizable health care and higher education sectors. Much of its future success, however, may depend on easier access to jobs in manufacturing, retail and other industries that are expanding in the region.

“In too many cases, if you’re living in some parts of the city, it takes upwards of two hours of connections on buses and trains to get to a job. That needs to change,” said Steve Wray, executive director of the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia, a nonprofit that promotes local economic development.

To increase opportunities for work, local officials are exploring a number of transportation-related improvements, such as expansions of existing rail and bus systems. Those moves would make it easier for Philadelphia residents to access a growing number of jobs in the city’s suburbs.

Some of the region’s well-known institutions of higher learning include Villanova University and the University of Pennsylvania, or “Penn” as it is often referred to locally. Drexel University, Temple University and Penn also all have teaching hospitals that provide thousands of jobs for the local economy.

One of the largest ongoing economic development initiatives has centered on the Philadelphia Navy Yard. The site of the country’s first naval shipyard, it was closed by the U.S. military in 1995, but since then has found new life as a large-scale, mixed-use private development. More than 145 companies and 11,000 employees occupy its 1,200 acres.

The Philadelphia metro region includes five counties in Pennsylvania, four counties in New Jersey, one county in Delaware and one county in Maryland.

To learn more about Philadelphia and other metro economies, please go to:

SHRM Metro Economic Outlooks








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