Philadelphia was a leading agricultural center early in its history, surrounded by rich Pennsylvania farmlands. Due to its location at the meeting of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, shipyards were very successful. Farm goods were traded for sugar and rum in the West Indies, and these products were in turn exchanged for goods from England and elsewhere.
Abundant natural resources, including coal and iron, helped Philadelphia become an early industrial leader, and by the 1770s Philadelphia was one of the most important business centers in the British Empire, with printing, publishing, papermaking, and textiles leading the way. Despite the government leaving Philadelphia in 1800, the city remained the cultural and financial center of the country for some time. It also became one of the first and strongest industrial powerhouses.
The face of industry has changed drastically since its early days, in Philadelphia and in other parts of the world. From 1990 to 2006, the average annual growth rate in employment was 0.8 percent. But the private services-providing sectors, which are now the leading industries (including trade, transportation & utilities, information, financial activities, professional and business services, education, health, leisure, and hospitality), grew by 1.4 percent, while the goods-producing sectors (including natural resources and mining, construction, and manufacturing) fell by 1.8 percent. This shows a move away from the traditional manufacturing economy.
Today, Philadelphia has some of the very best education and health systems in the world, with a wealth of top-rated schools and hospitals. The tourism industry continues to grow, and new businesses form each year to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of visitors.
© Karrie Gavin from Moon Philadelphia, 1st Edition