Lehigh Valley Has Much to Celebrate on Manufacturing Day

By Nicole Radzievich Mertz on October 1, 2020

Today, there are about 680 manufacturers in the Lehigh Valley with about 32,000 employees making everything from Mack Trucks (pictured) to medical supplies and devices, and much more. (Photo by Marco Calderon)

Mack Trucks, which touts a storied history in Lehigh Valley, recently completed an $84 million renovation project at its facility in Lower Macungie Township. (archive photo by Marco Calderon)

Mack Trucks and marshmallow Peeps. Crayola crayons and rapid HIV tests. Martin Guitars and mechanical piping.

Lehigh Valley is brimming with high-profile manufacturing activities and boasts a rich industrial history that stretches back to the 19th Century as steelmaking and silk mills took hold in a region suspended between the Anthracite coal mines and Philadelphia ports.

As the state celebrates Pennsylvania Manufacturing Day Oct. 2, the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation would like to take the opportunity to highlight the strength of the manufacturing sector in Lehigh and Northampton counties.

Manufacturing is a crucial part of Lehigh Valley’s economy.

  • The sector employed 34,273 people in the first quarter, or about 11% of all employment. (Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry)
  • It includes 770 establishments in the first quarter. (Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry)
  • The sector contributed $7.3 billion to the region’s GDP in 2018, the most recent data available. (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis)
  • Manufacturers have added 3,000 jobs to the region since April when unemployment peaked during the pandemic, but employment is still 4.5% below what it was last August. Manufacturers have a positive outlook over the next six months. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia)
  • Manufactures made $2.7 billion of purchases within the region. (Chmura Economics JobsEQ)

Manufacturing sustains many families in the region.

  • Tyber Medical, a medical device manufacturer, relocated in 2015 from New Jersey to Hanover Township in Northampton County. (photo courtesy Journal Communications)

    Tyber Medical, a medical device manufacturer, relocated in 2015 from New Jersey to Hanover Township in Northampton County. The company held a ribbon-cutting ceremony in December on its $8 million expansion. (photo courtesy Journal Communications)

    The average weekly wage in the sector was $1,481 in the first quarter. (Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry)

  • That’s about $400 more than the average weekly wage in the region. (Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry)
  • The sector’s wages totaled $660,078,361 the first quarter. (Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry)

Manufacturing is a vital curriculum in Lehigh Valley’s education system.

  • Lafayette College offers mechanical engineering program.
  • Lehigh University offers Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Engineering/Industrial Management, Industrial Engineering and Mechanical Engineering programs.
  • Northampton Community College offers Architectural Engineering Technology/Technician, Electromechanical Technology/Electromechanical Engineering Technology and Welding Technology programs. (JobsEQ)

Lehigh Valley is teeming with high-profile manufacturers.

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Lehigh ValleyQuick Facts

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$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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$3.8 Billion

Exports in 2019

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Air Products
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Median Household Income

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PPL Electric Utilities
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Labor Force

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

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Technology Patents

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

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$7.3 Billion

Manufacturing Contribution to GDP

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

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

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85,000 employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

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Population between ages 18 and 34

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