It's nice to know Philadelphia has more jobs now - more than 640,000, according to the federal jobs census - than since the early 2000s.

That's unlike wealthy Chester, Montgomery, and Bucks Counties, South Jersey, and the Princeton and Wilmington areas, which still have fewer people working than they did before the recession.

But there's a big suburban exception, which should give those who want to renew Center City as a corporate center, something to think about:

In Delaware County, payrolls rose to 232,000 last year, up 2.8 percent since 2007 - modest, but twice as fast as in Philadelphia, according to federal data collected by research director Lauren Gilchrist at office broker JLL's Philadelphia office.

And they're not the same kinds of jobs.

In Philadelphia, net new hires since 2007 were largely hospital, hotel, and restaurant workers.

Delaware County added 4,200 better-paid accountants, investment professionals, and corporate staff, reversing the county's long industrial decline.

How'd that happen? Developers in two wealthy Delaware County townships mimicked some of the most attractive features of city living:

Equus Capital Partners Ltd. says its Ellis Preserve in Newtown Township, with a gym club, running trails, and a Whole Foods and hotel going up in a "town center," is home to 3,000 corporate jobs that weren't there in 2007. The campus hosts 32 companies, including Sunoco and other former Philadelphia firms.

Insurer Lincoln National Corp. left Center City in 2007 to become one of the first tenants in the Radnor Financial Center and Radnor Corporate Center, a two-million-square-foot office complex - bigger than any of the Comcast or Liberty Place towers - between a Paoli local train station and a row of fancy restaurants ending in the Radnor Hotel.

"CEO tenants are looking for quality work environments in neighborhoods that have access to mass transportation, retail, hotels, and fully realized neighborhoods," says Jerry Sweeney, CEO of Radnor's landlord Brandywine Realty Trust.

Besides Radnor, it sounds like Center City, where Brandywine controls six of the 10 largest office buildings.

Why Delco, not Philly? "Capital is always attracted to where it's treated best," Steve Spaeder, senior vice president for development at Equus, told me. "You're seeing growth in Austin, Houston," and other low-tax cities.

There's also a difference within a region: Costs, including taxes, are lower in the suburbs.

Recent college grads like to live in Philadelphia, even if they have to commute to jobs in Radnor or Wilmington. Last week, Equus bought Hill House, a 188-unit apartment complex in the city's Chestnut Hill neighborhood, for $42 million.

But Equus isn't building offices in Philadelphia: "The suburbs are also growing and succeeding," and they have a head start, with almost three-quarters of the wider region's 2.6 million jobs, Spaeder adds.

Where is next? The redeveloped Unisys campus has drawn more companies to Blue Bell. King of Prussia boosters want to extend a SEPTA train line.

It doesn't always work. In Chesterbrook, that ambitious town-center community of the 1970s, builders now turn empty commercial sites into housing.

To draw more corporate employers to his towers downtown, Sweeney supports cuts to Philadelphia's business and employee wage taxes, and a change in state law to let the city raise taxes on business property rather than homes to make up the difference.

Center City "could be up there with Boston and New York," if employers and investors felt more welcome, Equus' Spaeder says.