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LVEDC Spreads Economic News with New Digital Billboards

By Colin McEvoy on November 14, 2016

An example of one of the new LVEDC digital billboards on Route 22.

An example of one of the new LVEDC digital billboards on Route 22.

If you’ve driven along Route 22 any time recently, you may have spotted some positive news about the Lehigh Valley economy.

That’s because the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) has taken out two digital billboards along the highway in order to share such information as the record-high regional gross domestic product or the growth in the Lehigh Valley’s manufacturing sector.

These billboards will allow LVEDC to share economic news with the region quickly, provide new economic data and numbers as they come out, and thank investors who have helped LVEDC execute on its mission to recruit companies and grow jobs in the Lehigh Valley.

“The mission of LVEDC is to market the economic assets of the Lehigh Valley, but we also work to make sure our internal stakeholders are well-educated about the regional economy, and this is one way we can do that,” said LVEDC President and CEO Don Cunningham.

For the rest of 2016, the new digital billboards will focus primarily on two major stories about the Lehigh Valley economy: the regional GDP growing to $36.97 billion, and the fact that manufacturing has now become the top output sector for the regional economy.

With a $1.6 billion increase over the previous year, the regional GDP now ranks 73rd out of the 382 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the United States. It is now larger than 97 other countries, and has increased by at least $750 million each year since 2010, when it was $31.34 billion.

Manufacturing now makes up $5.56 billion – or 15 percent – of the Lehigh Valley’s overall GDP, higher than any other subsector. Although technology and automation have reduced the size of the workforce, there are about 680 manufacturers in Lehigh and Northampton counties, employing about 33,000 workers.

The digital billboards will allow LVEDC to share news like this quickly and as it develops, part of its efforts to keep Lehigh Valley citizens informed about the regional economy, workforce, and businesses on a timely basis.

“The digital nature of these billboards allows us to update our messaging within a matter of minutes, which gives us a lot of flexibility in getting up-to-the-minute economic news and information to our stakeholders,” said Michael Keller, LVEDC Director of Marketing.

The LVEDC has commissioned billboards in the past. A mix of digital and traditional boards were used along Route 22 and Interchange 78 last year, and in 2013 the organization launched the “Wow! Campaign,” a marketing initiative that includes billboards and ads with interesting facts about Lehigh Valley and its economy.

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