City's Jobs Commission issues its report, with recommendations

Mayor Nutter, who signed into law Tuesday one of the report's proposals:A $5,000 tax credit per new employee, to be extended indefinitely, to create jobs in Phila. ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer
Mayor Nutter, who signed into law Tuesday one of the report's proposals:A $5,000 tax credit per new employee, to be extended indefinitely, to create jobs in Phila. ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / Staff Photographer
Posted: February 21, 2013

Luckily, Mayor Nutter and City Council President Darrell L. Clarke had their pens with them Tuesday when the city's Jobs Commission presented its first report, along with recommendations on the city's employment situation.

With those pens, Nutter and Clarke were able to sign into law one of the report's recommendations: that a $5,000 tax credit per new employee be extended indefinitely into the future as a way to create jobs in Philadelphia.

"Batting a thousand so far," Nutter joked.

The 85-page report includes many recommendations, particularly tax and regulatory reform and infrastructure investment, all intended to spur business growth.

It also suggests that the city's private and public workforce and business-development agencies step up their games, with the underlying recommendation that all groups should do what they already do, only better and more, and find more efficient ways to coordinate their efforts.

The goal "is to create more jobs than we lose," said Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr., who served on the 17-member commission, which was made up of businesspeople, academics, labor leaders, and business chamber representatives.

The report shows the challenges.

It identifies 52 government, quasi-public, academic, and business organizations that consider job creation and retention a key goal. Those include Select Greater Philadelphia, charged with marketing the region to businesses; Philadelphia Works, for career counseling and placement; and the Philadelphia Office of Economic Opportunity, which assists minority businesses.

Yet the city's unemployment rate as of December - the most recent available - was 11.1 percent, according to the state Department of Labor and Industry.

In some neighborhoods, the city jobs report said, the unemployment rate tops 20 percent, and in zip code 19133 in North Philadelphia, unemployment stands at 26.4 percent - a figure that does not include discouraged or part-time workers.

From 1990 to 2010, 108,071 jobs and 6,493 firms left Philadelphia, while only 48,526 jobs and 3,298 firms relocated inside the city limits, the report said.

"Some of it is things that have been going on in our economy for 30 to 40 years," Nutter explained, saying the recession exacerbated the problem. "Like many other big Northeastern cities, we've been in transition."

The report calls for additional reports - annual reports on job creation and workforce disparity - as well as the permanent appointment of a jobs commission.

Robert C. Nelson, president and chief executive of the Philadelphia OIC, chaired the commission, which was formed in May 2011. The group has been working on the study for six months.


Contact Jane M. Von Bergen at jvonbergen@phillynews.com or 215-854-2769,

or follow on Twitter @JaneVonBergen.

Read her workplace blog

at www.philly.com/jobbing.

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