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The New York Times Highlights Lehigh Valley’s Economic Success Story

By Colin McEvoy on January 9, 2020

The New York Times reporter Patricia Cohen wrote a Jan. 9 story about about Lehigh Valley’s thriving $41 billion economy.

The Lehigh Valley’s economic success story has garnered international attention over the past 12 months, and now the region is starting off the new year in the spotlight of one of the most prestigious and widely-read newspapers in the world.

The New York Times has penned a piece about Lehigh Valley’s thriving $41 billion economy. Written by Patricia Cohen, it 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 reads. “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 full story can be found on The New York Times website. It is expected to run in Monday’s print edition.

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

“It’s very gratifying to see the national media bringing attention to the economic renaissance of the Lehigh Valley,” said LVEDC President & CEO Don Cunningham. “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 discusses 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 writes: “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.”

The story also places the Lehigh Valley in context with the national political scene, identifying it as a bellwether for a significant voting population, while also acknowledging that the economic success story has been driven largely by the region itself.

“The renaissance here has been led by the people, the companies, and the leaders of the Lehigh Valley,” Cunningham said. “That’s something that transcends U.S. presidents and administrations.”

The New York Times feature continues a recent trend of national attention the Lehigh Valley has attracted in recent months.

Site Selection magazine last year recognized it as one of the top five fastest-growing regions with under a million people in the United States, and the single fastest-growing region of its size in the Northeast U.S. for a third consecutive year.

Additionally, LVEDC was named one of the Top 20 economic development corporations in the United States, Forbes magazine highlighted the region’s thriving manufacturing sector, and Lehigh Valley was the subject of a dedicated 26-page section in the Delta Air Lines in-flight magazine.

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Lehigh ValleyQuick Facts

By the Numbers
$40.1 Billion

Gross Domestic Product

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City Center Lehigh Valley
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11% of Labor Force
Employed in Manufacturing

By the Numbers
$3.65 Billion

Exports

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Air Products
By the Numbers
$62,489

Median Household Income

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PPL Electric Utilities
By the Numbers
26,000

New Jobs Created Over Past 5 Years

By the Numbers
669,899

Population

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Olympus
By the Numbers
345,260

Labor Force

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

By the Numbers
$7.4 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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Seedcopa
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10,328 degrees awarded by colleges and universities

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Fuling
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81,000 employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

By the Numbers
26.97%

Population between ages 18 and 34

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