Workforce Wednesday: Using workforce insights to thrive and innovate in Philadelphia


To shape effective workforce strategies, Philadelphia Works, the city’s local workforce development board, is intentional about fostering an understanding of our region’s labor market. A clear understanding of our region’s economic trends can help businesses make informed decisions about recruitment, retention, and growth strategies. It can also help workforce development organizations like Philadelphia Youth Network and District 1199C align their employment and training programs to better serve Philadelphia’s residents.

Additionally, analyzing workforce data and trends allows Philadelphia Works to evaluate the outcomes of our own investments, helping businesses develop strong talent pipelines. These workforce insights help drive innovation toward smarter workforce solutions, preparing career seekers for the future of work in Philadelphia.

The economic challenges presented by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have deeply affected local businesses and city residents, many of whom uncertain about the future of our economy. Philadelphia Works’ Data Performance and Labor Market Information Team analyzes economic trends to show where
impacts have concentrated and where opportunities persist.

By using Philadelphia Works’ workforce insights, businesses, policy leaders, and organizations can:

  • Clearly visualize analytical research and workforce trends to better understand impacts on employment.
  • Connect to a variety of resources that build cross-sector relationships and workforce initiatives.
  • Learn about our innovative solutions and pilot programs that strengthen Philadelphia’s economy.

Workforce Insight Resources for Businesses:

The Data and Trends page on the Philadelphia Works’ website offers a variety of resources including labor market reports, research briefs, and date on current labor market conditions.

As we look toward recovery, industry leaders can use these resources to make informed decisions around hiring, training, and industry trends. For example, information in the Quarterly Labor Market Insights Report sheds light on the region’s talent pipeline, encouraging business competitiveness and economic growth.

Workforce Insight Resources for Workforce Program Providers:

Beyond our regular labor market reporting, Philadelphia Works also provides insight into more specific and timely economic questions. In our recent research brief, Patterns of Spatial Inequity: Negative Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we discuss how the COVID-19 employment crisis has had uneven impacts across the city. Neighborhoods that have historically experienced higher barriers to employment are experiencing disproportionately high rates of unemployment today. From this report and interactive mapping tool, employment and career readiness program providers can determine where to allocate resources to meet residents at their point of need.

Workforce Insight Resources for Workforce Training Providers:

High Priority Occupations: The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Workforce System has established High Priority Occupations (HPOs) as one component of Pennsylvania’s industry-driven approach to workforce development. The purpose of the HPO lists is to align workforce training and education investments with occupations that are in demand by employers, have higher skill needs, and are most likely to provide family-sustaining wages. From this report, training providers in our regions can gain insight into:

  • Unmet employer demand for talent
  • Advancing Career Pathways
  • Local workforce initiatives/sector partnerships

In 2018, Philadelphia leaders from both the private and public sector, collaborated to develop a comprehensive workforce development strategy, “Fueling Philadelphia’s Talent Engine.” The report called on Philadelphia Works to serve as the city’s hub for labor market and economic reporting and analysis. Philadelphia Works has answered that call and remains a valuable public resource, making workforce data and trends easier to navigate and readily available to the public.

Need labor market insights not readily available on our website? Need help understanding how existing resources can assist your business or organization? Contact our data team by emailing your requests to [email protected]

Matthew Hutton is a Senior Research Analyst at Philadelphia Works. 


Workforce Wednesday is in partnership with Metro Newspaper. 

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