Bad news, worse news

American cities are getting to be pretty grim places, and Philadelphia is no exception according to the Pew Charitable Trusts’ 2022 “State of the City” report, just released yesterday. “Two years into the pandemic, Philadelphia is showing signs of an economic and public health recovery, yet some serious challenges remain,” runs the introduction, and boy, they ain’t kidding:

The pandemic interrupted a period of unprecedented growth for Philadelphia, but some harsher realities underlaid that success story. For example, before COVID-19, the city’s economy was expanding, with an impressive increase in total jobs. However, those employment gains were not equally distributed. Opportunities for city residents tended to be low-wage positions in low-paying sectors of the economy; as a result, wages for Philadelphians working in the city declined by 5% over almost a decade. The loss of jobs from the pandemic, concentrated in lower-wage sectors such as the retail and leisure and hospitality sectors, had a disproportionate impact on city workers in those positions — especially Black and female workers.

And in recent months, safety remained a major concern for Philadelphians, threatening all aspects of Philadelphia’s return to pre-pandemic life. In a 2022 poll by The Pew Charitable Trusts, 70% of residents cited the combination of crime, drugs, and public safety as the biggest issue facing the city. At the center of this challenge is gun violence, which rose throughout the country in 2021, with Philadelphia alone reporting 2,326 shootings that year. Despite a slight decrease in total violent crime in the city, gun violence soared — including a 28% increase in robberies with a firearm in the past year.

In addition, the number of homicides in Philadelphia has been rising each year for the past eight years; in 2021, it reached 562, a historic high — and more than double the number recorded in 2013.

On the other hand, the Phils are still second from the basement in the NL East ten games into the season. So there’s nowhere to go but up (except last place itself).

Read more about the Pew report here.

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