When the stock market crashed in 1929 it devastated Philadelphia, as it did most other cities. Philadelphia lost 50 banks and 19,000 properties went into foreclosure by 1932. The mayor blamed the financial crisis on laziness and wastefulness, firing 3,500 city workers, instituting pay cuts, and forcing unpaid vacations. The effects of these cuts lingered.
Source: Weigley, RF and et al. Philadelphia: A 300-Year History, New York and London: W. W. Norton & Company, (1982), ISBN 0-393-01610-2