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Site Selection Magazine Spotlights Lehigh Valley Once Again

By Colin McEvoy on September 27, 2021

The Lehigh Valley has once again been spotlighted by one of the most prestigious and widely-read economic development publications in the United States.

The cover of the Site Selection magazine highlighting the Lehigh Valley in its Pennsylvania spotlight. (courtesy photo)

The September issue of Site Selection includes a 10-page dedicated feature about the state of Pennsylvania, which prominently highlighted the Lehigh Valley, particularly its manufacturing and life sciences sectors.

“We’re not the Rust Belt anymore and haven’t been for years,” Don Cunningham, President & CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) said in the magazine. “Having said that, manufacturing is the second-biggest part of the Lehigh Valley economy. But today it’s guitars, medical equipment, diagnostics, and food and beverage.”

The digital version of the September issue of Site Selection can be viewed or downloaded here.

The issue also featured a full-page advertisement provided by LVEDC emphasizing the life sciences sector of the Lehigh Valley. It is part of a targeted marketing initiative LVEDC is undertaking to highlight the life sciences sector of the Lehigh Valley to outside markets.

The advertisement notes several of the region’s economic assets, including its central location, high-quality workforce, and proximity to major metropolitan areas like Boston, New York, City, Northern New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

“One-third of all U.S. consumers are within an eight-hour drive, and access to all major transportation infrastructure connects you to national and international markets,” the ad reads. “It costs substantially less to do business here, while offering an affordable, vibrant quality of life that attracts and retains a vast pool of highly educated talent.”

LVEDC’s full-page advertisement in Site Selection highlighting the Lehigh Valley’s life sciences sector.

In the Site Selection story, which was written by magazine Editor in Chief Mark Arend, Cunningham said that the norm in the early 1980s was for graduates to leave locations like the Lehigh Valley to find career opportunities elsewhere, but that is no longer the case.

“Today the largest portion of our workforce is 35 years of age and younger, and we have the fastest growing population per capita of young people in Pennsylvania,” Cunningham said in the article.

The article states that project activity in Pennsylvania has largely resumed to pre-pandemic levels, though recovery and growth rates vary from location to location. It also noted that logistics and e-commerce too are now central to the area’s economy given its proximity to the major cities in the Northeast.

“Pennsylvania is sort of like multiple states in one with extremely rural areas, large metros, and small towns,” Cunningham said. “About 20 to 22 counties are heavy population and economic growth areas. Large population centers have transitioned out of heavy industry nicely into more of the 21st century economy with life sciences and technology and health care and finance.”

The Lehigh Valley has been highlighted by Site Selection before. In March, the region was ranked among the Top 5 regions in the Northeast for 2020 in terms of economic development projects completed, according to the magazine’s prestigious Governor’s Cup Awards.

Additionally, for a fifth consecutive year, the Lehigh Valley was ranked among the Top 10 regions nationwide with a population size between 200,000 and 1 million, according to the awards, which each year determines the best-performing metropolitan areas in the country.

Site Selection has also recognized LVEDC as one of the top 20 economic development organizations in the nation for two consecutive years through its Mac Conway Awards for Excellence in Economic Development.

Published by Conway Data, Site Selection is the oldest publication in the corporate real estate and economic development field. It is the official publication of the Industrial Asset Management Council, and has a circulation base of about 44,000 executives involved in corporate site selection decisions.

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Lehigh ValleyQuick Facts

By the Numbers
$43.3 Billion

2020 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
$66,865

Median Household Income

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PPL Electric Utilities
By the Numbers
676,700

Population

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Olympus
By the Numbers
347,612

Labor Force

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26.6% 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
$7.1 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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82,270 employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

By the Numbers
149,000

Population between ages 18 and 34

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Workforce Board