Job competition tough in Philly
Online job advertisements give economists one way to view how competitive a local labor market is, by measuring the ratio of jobseekers to job postings in a given period. Over the past year, according to new data from The Conference Board, the Philadelphia region's "help wanted" ratio improved very slightly but not as much as in other regions. In October, the region had 2.9 jobseekers for every job opening posted online, an improvement from 3.0 jobless workers per opening a year earlier. But the new ratio left Philadelphia at No. 40 out of 52 metropolitan regions, down from No. 28 a year earlier. The data indicates that competition for each opening did not slacken here as much as it did elsewhere.
Getting on the bus
Whether the prime cause is the sluggish economy, the high
cost of energy, or concern about the environment, the numbers are
clear in Philadelphia: use of mass transit is going up and driving is going down.
Over the last decade, ridership has risen 14 percent on SEPTA’s city division,
23 percent on the regional rails, and 13 percent on the PATCO high-speed line.
And during the last five years, a time when the city’s population was rising, the
total number of vehicle miles traveled in the city fell by 11 percent,
according to PennDot. All of this qualifies as good news for people concerned
about energy consumption, urban sustainability, and air quality.
Philly ranks high in LGBT index
According to a new report (PDF) by the Human Rights Campaign,
Philadelphia is one of the nation’s friendliest cities to gay, lesbian,
bisexual and transgender individuals. In the group’s first-ever Municipal
Equality Index, Philadelphia was one of 11 cities to get a rating of 100. Among
the others were New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle and Boston. In
all, 137 cities were rated, including the nation’s 50 largest and all 50 state
capitals. The index is based solely on local laws and policies. Cities were judged
on 47 criteria.
Cars vs. bikes? Cast your vote
The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, which
represents nine Pennsylvania and New Jersey counties, wants to hear your preferences on everything from gas taxes to bicycles for its development strategy through 2040. Take its survey at Connections 2040: Choices & Voices and learn a few things while expressing your opinion.
School closings in perspective
closings or relocations proposed for 44 schools in the coming year,
the Philadelphia School District would rival many major cities in the
magnitude of its downsizing. Our 2011 study
shows how six other large urban school districts dealt with public
anger over their closings and reaped relatively modest cost savings in
the short-term, with longer-term savings unclear. We are now working on a
new study looking at more cities and what became of their vacant school
buildings. If you are not already receiving emails about our research, sign up here to be notified when our studies come out. And please tell a friend, too.
Efforts to make more of Philadelphia's government-held information easily accessible by the public are bearing fruit. This month, City Hall rolled out www.phila.gov/map, where anybody can see the location of vacant properties, crime incidents, schools, bike lanes and many other things all in one place. City Council has unveiled phila.legistar.com for easier searching of legislative information. And the administration said it is now negotiating to use OpenDataPhilly, run by the nonprofit Philadelphia Public Interest News Network, as a portal for city data.
Our reader survey
To readers who participated in our reader survey this past month, thank you! Here are
some results: 60 percent of you hold jobs at nonprofit organizations,
and 15 percent work in government. About 70 percent consider schools and jobs the most important issues for Philadelphia, higher than any other topic. And 28 percent of you have used our research to take an action or make a decision at work. Your answers will help us understand your
interests and improve our work. Keep reading, and thank you! The survey is still open here if you wish to add your voice.