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The effects of government impact, quality of place

By LVEDC Staff on March 18, 2014

Garner: The Lehigh Valley will have to work together and be committed to raising the bar for economic development.

Garner: The Lehigh Valley will have to work together and be committed to raising the bar for economic development.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is taken from the recently published Competitive Realities report that was created by Jay Garner of Garner Economics of Atlanta, Ga. This segment covers even more of our assets.

Government Impact on Business

The Lehigh Valley has effective incentive programs that can provide significant benefit to qualifying projects. The Keystone Opportunity Zone, the Keystone Innovation Zone, and the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone are all key initiatives that can have a significant financial impact on qualifying companies.

The region’s labor-training incentives are competitive but not exemplary compared to some other states. Lehigh Valley ranked higher than Pennsylvania and the United States in combined SAT Scores. The region faces challenges in regards to unemployment insurance costs, corporate income taxes, and property taxes.

According to the Tax Foundation, Pennsylvania ranks 19th overall on the business tax climate index compared to North Carolina at 44th. However, property tax rates are higher in Lehigh and Northampton than most other Pennsylvania counties and nearly all of the 100 counties in North Carolina.

Quality of Place

Housing options for moderate and executive-level choices are an asset in the region. Cost of housing is consistent with the national average. The level of violent and property crime is below most of the benchmarks and, as such, is considered a strength.

There are ample opportunities for cultural activities, recreation, shopping, restaurants, and sporting events. The central business district in Bethlehem and Easton show well, however, the Allentown CBD ranks as neutral. Air quality is rated as a Challenge. Both Lehigh County and Northampton County are in nonattainment for both eight-hour ozone and particulate matter. Heath care is particularly strong in the Valley with two major health care providers: St. Luke’s University Health Network and the Lehigh Valley Health Network. Both systems have medical schools.

NEXT WEEK: We take a look at the Dashboard Indicators Summary. This analysis examines the economic position and competitiveness of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania economy, which is comprised of Lehigh and Northampton counties. Besides the nation and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, this report also compares Lehigh Valley to two benchmark communities: Allegheny County in Pennsylvania, and the combined Forsyth and Guilford counties of North Carolina. More interesting comparisons are just ahead!

To read last week’s installment, click here.

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Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC), a non-profit 501(c)3 organization engaged in promoting economic development in the two counties of Lehigh and Northampt[...]

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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
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$3.8 Billion

Exports in 2019

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Air Products
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Lehigh Valley Electricians
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$66,865

Median Household Income

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PPL Electric Utilities
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676,700

Population

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Olympus
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347,612

Labor Force

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26.6% of Labor Force
Employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

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5,073

Technology Patents

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UGI
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NFI
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14% of the total community college degrees awarded in PA

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$7.1 Billion

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Truist
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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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St. Lukes University Health Network
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82,270 employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

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Workforce Board
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149,000

Population between ages 18 and 34

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