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Lehigh Valley Among The New York Times’ “Favorite Facts for 2020”

By Colin McEvoy on January 5, 2021

The Lehigh Valley was on a list The New York Times published with the “most interesting, striking or delightful facts” from its 2020 articles.

Every year, The New York Times publishes tens of thousands of news articles. At the end of each year, their editors pick the “most interesting, striking or delightful facts” to appear in articles from throughout the year and shares them with their readers.

This year, the Lehigh Valley made the cut.

The strength of the Lehigh Valley economy made #4 on a list of 74 facts from 2020 articles published by the Times, one of the most prestigious and widely-read newspapers in the world.

The specific fact was “The Lehigh Valley in Eastern Pennsylvania is within an eight-hour drive of one-third of American consumers.” Visit here to see the full list.

That fact comes from a story the Times wrote in January 2020 about the Lehigh Valley’s economic transformation.

The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) hosted the reporter during her visit to the region for that story, answering questions, providing economic data, and connected her to companies and business leaders in the Lehigh Valley.

“It certainly is a nice way to ring in the New Year with The New York Times making the Lehigh Valley and its strategic location in the U.S. supply chain one of its top facts of the year to share with its readers,” said LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham.

Written by Patricia Cohen, the original New York Times story highlights the region’s manufacturing sector, transportation infrastructure, network of colleges and universities, food and beverage companies, and much more.

“The region’s success distinguishes it from onetime industrial dynamos in the Northeast and Midwest that have struggled to replace shuttered plants and vanishing jobs,” the story read. “While many midsize and smaller cities have lost out to the superstars — large urban metropolises that gulp up scads of employers, workers and customers — the Lehigh Valley is booming.”

The story reflects the overall strength of the economy and the variety of industries and sectors. That balance has kept the regional economy strong and has helped the Lehigh Valley weather the downturn.

The full story can be found on The New York Times website. It ran virtually on Jan. 9 and in print on Jan. 13.

“It’s very gratifying to see the national media bringing attention to the economic renaissance of the Lehigh Valley,” Cunningham said. “We’re finally being recognized on a national platform for the extraordinary things that have been occurring here.”

Among the companies featured in the story are OraSure Technologies, a manufacturer of diagnostic medical collection devices; Freshpet, a pet food company building a new $100 million facility; Stuffed Puffs, the s’mores-snacks makers who just opened a new manufacturing facility; and Factory, a food and beverage business innovation center.

The piece discussed how local and state officials laid the groundwork for a regional revival following the closure of Bethlehem Steel in 1998, leading up to recent development efforts that, according to the story, “have centered on creating urban playgrounds of restaurants, bars, entertainment and culture that will attract millennial workers.”

Cohen wrote: “The valley’s three small cities, Bethlehem, Easton and Allentown, are within 15 miles of one another. Among them, residents can find an ice hockey rink, concert venues and music festivals, a casino, arts walks, breweries, a minor-league baseball park, golf courses and new downtown apartments.”

How These Five Trends Shaped Lehigh Valley’s Economic Landscape in 2020

Research and data analyzed by the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation indicate that in 2020 the Lehigh Valley economic landscape transformed at a pace not seen [...]

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Lehigh ValleyQuick Facts

By the Numbers
$41.2 Billion

2018 Gross Domestic Product

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City Center Lehigh Valley
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10.6% of Labor Force
Employed in Manufacturing

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Lehigh Valley Health Network
By the Numbers
$3.8 Billion

Exports in 2019

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Air Products
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Lehigh Valley Electricians
By the Numbers
$65,119

Median Household Income

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PPL Electric Utilities
By the Numbers
672,907

Population

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Olympus
By the Numbers
358,000

Labor Force

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

By the Numbers
5,073

Technology Patents

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

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Wells Fargo
By the Numbers
$7.3 Billion

Manufacturing Contribution to GDP

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

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Key Bank
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10,754 degrees awarded by Lehigh Valley colleges (2017-18 academic year)

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St. Lukes University Health Network
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85,000 employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

By the Numbers
149,000

Population between ages 18 and 34

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