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A Mid-Year 2019 Look at Economic Development in Lehigh Valley

By Colin McEvoy on June 26, 2019

LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham speaking at the organization’s annual meeting at Bethlehem’s ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks in March 2019. (photo by Marco Calderon)

The first six months of 2019 have certainly been eventful. The Lehigh Valley economy has received national recognition, several major projects and expansions are underway, and the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) announced an exciting new initiative unlike anything it has ever undertaken before.

Below are just a few examples of Lehigh Valley’s economic development success stories so far this year:

Made Possible in Lehigh Valley

A rendering of a billboard advertisement featuring one of the new ads from the "Made Possible in Lehigh Valley" marketing campaign.

A rendering of a billboard advertisement featuring one of the new ads from the “Made Possible in Lehigh Valley” marketing campaign.

In March, LVEDC unveiled the Made Possible in Lehigh Valley marketing campaign, which seeks to tell the stories of Lehigh Valley companies and people alike, increase outside awareness of our region, and let everyone know the amazing things made possible here.

Made Possible stories can range from a small-business owner living their dream in the Lehigh Valley, to buying a first home, to following an opportunity and a great job to bring a family to the region. The campaign was designed to be flexible and scalable, with stories told in a wide variety of ways: through photos, print ads, billboards, social media, video, and more.

Employers and individuals in the region have been urged to tell their own stories through Made Possible in Lehigh Valley. LVEDC also encourages everyone to view and share the official Made Possible video, and to keep track of Made Possible stories on the official Instagram account.

National recognition

Lehigh Valley’s economic success continues to generate attention all across the nation. Site Selection magazine recognized our region as one of the top five fastest-growing regions with under a million people in the United States last year, and the single fastest-growing region of its size in the Northeast U.S. for a third consecutive year.

LVEDC was named one of the Top 20 economic development corporations in the United States, a testament to the collaborative efforts of the Lehigh Valley’s many stakeholders. LVEDC this year also implemented a brand new work group focused on the increased need for talent and other issues facing Lehigh Valley companies.

Additionally, Toronto-based Colliers International identified Lehigh Valley as one of the top 10 industrial real estate markets to watch, describing the region as one that will “provide the most opportunity for both investors and occupiers” in 2019.

Lehigh Valley is one of the few areas in Pennsylvania that has experienced a growth in population over the last eight years; Lehigh and Northampton counties were two of only 20 out of 67 across the state. The region has also seen particular growth in the 18-34 age group, a vital demographic for the area’s talent market.

Projects and expansions

In just six months, Lehigh Valley has already seen the announcement, beginning, or completion of several major business projects or expansions. Below are just a few examples:

Other LVEDC initiatives

LVEDC Vice President of Economic Development and Marketing Matthew Tuerk (behind booth) at the Pennsylvania booth of the SelectUSA Investment Summit. (courtesy photo)

LVEDC has been hard at work spreading the word about the Lehigh Valley economy, having met with site selectors and international company representatives at such events as the SelectUSA Investment Summit and the Industrial Asset Management Council Spring Forum.

The organization also created and distributed informational fliers about qualified opportunity zones and how developers can take advantage of them in the Lehigh Valley. They were also the subject of LVEDC’s latest Lehigh Valley Commercial Real Estate Report.

LVEDC has also hosted several events so far this year, including a talent attraction and retention event at Five City Center, a legislative update with U.S. Rep Susan Wild, and an economic update for the region’s legislative delegation.

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Lehigh ValleyQuick Facts

By the Numbers
$40.1 Billion

Gross Domestic Product

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City Center Lehigh Valley
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11% of Labor Force
Employed in Manufacturing

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$3.65 Billion

Exports

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Air Products
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$62,489

Median Household Income

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PPL Electric Utilities
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26,000

New Jobs Created Over Past 5 Years

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669,899

Population

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Olympus
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345,260

Labor Force

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26.1% of Labor Force
Employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

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5,073

Technology Patents

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Mack Trucks
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UGI
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NFI
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14% of the total community college degrees awarded in PA

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$7.4 Billion

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BB&T
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69th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. by population

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10,328 degrees awarded by colleges and universities

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81,000 employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

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26.97%

Population between ages 18 and 34

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