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Lehigh County recognized as a top ten county in the nation to attract growth and investment in the future.

By LVEDC Staff on December 17, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     Monday, December 17, 2012
Lehigh County recognized as a top ten county in the nation to attract growth and investment in the future.
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – A national economic development firm has listed Lehigh County, Pa. as one of the top ten counties in the United States to attract future growth and investment as part of its just-released Fourth Economy Community Index. Ranked seventh in the “Large-Sized Counties” segment measuring populations between 150,000 and 499,999, Fourth Economy anointed Lehigh County based on the following criteria: investment, talent, sustainability, place and diversity. Specific indicators include wage and employment growth, education levels, drive times, home values, minority business ownership, agricultural and manufacturing capacity and population density.

“We are honored to see Lehigh County recognized by Fourth Economy as one of the leading economic growth counties in the United States, said LVEDC President and CEO, Don Cunningham. “It is always good to see national entities discover what we know is happening here in the Lehigh Valley. It confirms what we continually are seeing that businesses want to start here, grow here and come here, on both sides of the Lehigh Valley.”

The firm points to regional cooperation around economic and community development as a key factor in the success of development in the county.

“Lehigh County understood years ago that regional collaboration positions us to be a top economic growth center by providing a very good environment to recruit businesses and retain those already here,” said County Executive Bill Hansell. “And continued smart investments by both the public and private sectors in a diversified economy will lead us to a prosperous future.”

Lehigh County has attracted international companies during the time period reviewed by Fourth Economy. Just last month Ice River Springs Water announced plans to locate its new bottling and manufacturing facility in Hanover Township, creating more than 49 new jobs in the process. Quality Packaging Specialists International will create 280 new jobs when they decided to move their pharmaceutical packaging operations to Lower Macungie Township in August. In April, Ocean Spray formally announced their move to Upper Macungie Township where they will open a bottling facility that will employ 165 people. Also included during Fourth Economy’s review period were Avantor Performance Materials in Upper Saucon Township, which is targeted to create 200 jobs and United Bank Card in Hanover Township which is expected to create 150 jobs.

In addition to attraction, the county has played a role in facilitating the growth of existing companies. Coca-Cola Refreshments Lehigh Valley Syrup Manufacturing Facility underwent a $46 million expansion to their Upper Macungie Township plant that assured the retention of 78 full-time positions and the creation of another 50 jobs, while strengthening the company’s commitment to the entire Lehigh Valley.

At the center of Lehigh County is Allentown, the third largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which is rebounding from a downward trend and has begun an economic renaissance.

“The ongoing revitalization of our city is realized in part by providing resources to assist and empower existing businesses to thrive while also attracting new companies through economic development programs,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski. “It’s great that Allentown was a factor in Lehigh County’s selection by Fourth Economy.”

Fourth Economy Consulting is a national economic development consulting firm specializing in market analytics, strategic planning, community assessments and organization building. They are based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“As a country, it is critical that we position our communities to take advantage of the long-term economic prosperity and impact that both the public and private sectors can have on their respective economies,” said Richard Overmoyer, CEO of Fourth Economy. “This index begins to point to the date and assets that help to influence and monitor progress toward that goal.”

For the full Fourth Economy report and rankings go to:

http://fourtheconomy.com/national-fourth-economy-community-index-lists-top-10-large-sized-counties-for-2013/

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