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Lehigh Valley’s Economic Success Story Discussed on PBS39

By Colin McEvoy on February 18, 2020

LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham sat down with PBS39’s Monica Evans to discuss the Lehigh Valley economy. (image courtesy PBS39)

Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) President & CEO Don Cunningham sat down with PBS39’s Monica Evans recently to discuss the regional economy and the national attention it has received in recent weeks.

The New York Times highlighted Lehigh Valley’s economic success story in a Jan. 14 article that led the paper’s business section. That article, among other topics, was discussed during a recent PBS39 Community Corner segment with Cunningham and Evans.

“The Lehigh Valley is booming, and the buzz made national headlines when the New York Times profiled the region in a recent article,” Evans said.

The segment first aired on Jan. 27 and can be viewed online at PBS39’s website.

Cunningham discussed the economic factors that have helped drive Lehigh Valley’s success, including its central location, available real estate, quality workforce, and the collaboration between the region’s business community, elected leaders, and economic development professionals.

“The thing that I think has been most significant in the Lehigh Valley, and it sounds clichéd, but is everybody working together,” Cunningham said. “If you have a plan where the business community, the economic development community, the cities, and the counties are all rowing their oars in the same direction, you can move the boat upstream.”

The Lehigh Valley gross domestic product has surpassed $41 billion for the first time in regional history, becoming a Top 60 economy among major metropolitan areas in the United States. Cunningham noted that a significant portion of that growth has been driven by manufacturing, which contributes $7.3 billion to the overall regional GDP.

“Manufacturing in Lehigh Valley is actually growing now, to the point where it’s 18% of our economy,” Cunningham said. “In comparison, it’s less than 13% of the United States economy.”

Cunningham also discussed Air Products establishing its new headquarters in Lehigh Valley, the region’s 26-page feature in the Delta Air Lines in-flight magazine, and the ongoing efforts of the LVEDC Education and Talent Supply Council to develop and execute regional strategies that help Lehigh Valley maintain a competitive workforce and talent supply.

Much of the past year’s economic successes will be highlighted at the 2020 LVEDC Annual Meeting, which will be held Thursday, March 19, at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks. Attendance is free, but pre-registration is required.

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By the Numbers
$43.3 Billion

2020 Gross Domestic Product

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10.6% of Labor Force
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$3.8 Billion

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14% of the total community college degrees awarded in PA

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149,000

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