Learn why some of the world’s leading manufacturers choose to be in the Lehigh Valley in this short video about the high-performance manufacturing industry in the region.
After several decades of employment decline, manufacturing is back on the rise in the United States, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the Lehigh Valley. The region’s economic assets are well-suited for this expanding industry, which is growing at a much faster rate in the Lehigh Valley than in the rest of Pennsylvania and much of the country.
The Lehigh Valley’s manufacturing sector grew by 4.1 percent from 2013 to 2014, and ranks 64th out of 381 metropolitan markets in the country.
An economic analysis by the Atlanta-based Garner Economics identified high performance manufacturing as a target sector for the Lehigh Valley based on these factors, among others:
- Central location and proximity to major U.S. Northeast markets
- Well-developed transportation infrastructure
- Availability of water and sewer lines to industrial sites
- High relative proportion of residents with bachelor’s degrees in engineering
- Strong existing local pool of high-demand occupations
- 740 post-secondary completions in year 2012 from local institutions in engineering fields
- 422 annual post-secondary completions in critical fields from local institutions
- Presence of Lehigh University’s Center for Manufacturing Systems Engineering
- High measure of local specialization in electrical equipment and component manufacturing
- Average target subsector five-year forecasted growth of 10.5 percent
- Quality of place assets: ample opportunities for cultural activities, recreation, shopping
The Lehigh Valley is home to several nationally-renowned manufacturing companies, such as B Braun Medical and Lutron Electronics. Mack Trucks builds all of its trucks for the North American market in the Lehigh Valley, and last year enjoyed the biggest output its plant has ever seen.
Fuling Plastics, China’s largest manufacturer of plastic tableware and kitchenware, recently chose the Lehigh Valley for its first American manufacturing facility, marking the first time a Chinese manufacturer has opened a facility in Pennsylvania. Company officials said this decision was based on the Lehigh Valley’s central location, convenient transportation, strong support network, public security, and the cooperation of local officials in making the project happen.