Hiring rose among Philly 50 last year, modestly

Posted: April 08, 2013

Years of weak employment data have reduced me to cheering a measly 2.5 percent rise in the workforces of the Philly 50 companies.

But I'll take what I can get.

If you consider that companies add jobs only when they absolutely have to, it is a good sign that 48 of the 50 locally based companies with the largest market capitalizations added a collective 14,994 people year over year.

All told, those 48 companies, led by Comcast Corp. and its 129,000-person workforce, reported total employment of 615,635 as of the end of their fiscal years. Last year, that total was 600,641.

Those figures come from each company's latest annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Two companies with March 31 fiscal year-ends have not filed reports covering that period: Airgas Inc., of Radnor, and Triumph Group Inc., of Berwyn.

Working as many of us do each day with small teams, it's hard to visualize how many people the Philly 50 companies employ. But if all of those employees were in the city of Philadelphia, they would almost double the 630,517 people employed and counted by the federal Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program last June.

Of course, many of these companies have quite small footprints in the Philadelphia area. Vishay Intertechnology Inc., a Malvern-based electronic components maker, reported that 88 percent of its 21,600-person labor force works outside the United States.

While employment at Crown Holdings Inc. rose by 1,200 to 21,900 people in 2012, all of that growth came from overseas. The Philadelphia-based maker of cans and bottle caps employs just 5,600 workers in its Americas division.

Qlik Technologies Inc. is a fast-growing business-intelligence software developer that moved its headquarters to Radnor from Sweden in 2006. Last year, it reported a 35 percent increase in its workforce to 1,425 people. Just 397 of them worked in the United States as of Dec. 31, but that was up from 255 a year earlier.

After Comcast, the biggest employers among the Philly 50 are: TE Connectivity Ltd., an electronics firm with principal offices in Berwyn, employing 88,000; DuPont Co., the Wilmington chemical company, with 70,000 workers; and Universal Health Services Inc., the King of Prussia operator of for-profit hospitals, with 61,500.

Comcast, which has about 46,000 employees in its NBC Universal unit, added a total of 3,000 workers last year, while DuPont's workforce was unchanged from 2011. Both TE Connectivity and Universal Health Services shed jobs - 7,000 and 3,900, respectively.

Only nine of the 48 companies reduced their employment last year.

The biggest labor-force increase was recorded by the acquisitive AmerisourceBergen Corp., which added 4,200 people to its distribution operations.

Contact Mike Armstrong at 215-854-2980 or marmstrong@phillynews.com, or @PhillyInc on Twitter.

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