August 3: Philly job growth picking up | Uber and union organizing | Halal cart boom

Steady job growth is driving the demand for apartment construction in Philadelphia, according to data from real estate services firm Marcus & Millichap. Alan Heavens writes that “the increase in jobs – 60,000 new ones are anticipated by the end of 2016 – has resulted in the formation of 23,700 new households in the region over the last four quarters, the firm’s research shows.” 

Jeff Hornstein thinks that while the medallion taxi business model and the newer app-based ride-hailing business model both have major flaws from a labor standpoint, the Uber model may offer labor organizers a better opportunity for unionizing drivers. 

Economist Paul Krugman blogs about the business trends driving renewed corporate interest in central city headquarters. It’s not just companies chasing talent, he writes. “In today’s world, core headquarters functions – the stuff done by top executives and highly paid experts – can be unbundled from the more mundane operations of a company. These high-end functions are also the ones that benefit most from the agglomeration economies of a big city.”

Josh Stephens at California Planning and Development Report thinks Philadelphia-style rowhouse neighborhoods are the cure for California’s housing woes. “Rowhouses promote a special kind of urbanism. The chance to walk out your front door and step immediately on to a sidewalk — in view of every other house on the block — creates a neighborliness that no apartment building ever could.”

What’s behind the explosion of Halal food carts on Center City street corners? Marcos Espinoza talks to the vendors. 

The Christie administration and legislative Democrats still can’t agree on a transportation funding package, writes Phil Gregory, while state-funded projects remain halted across New Jersey. Governor Christie will only sign a bill raising the gas tax by 23 cents if it also cuts some other taxes, and the parties disagree on which taxes to cut.


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