Total Employment Up in Lehigh Valley

By LVEDC Staff on April 15, 2014

LVEDC logo smallEDITOR’S NOTE: The following is taken from A Competitive Realities Report of Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania – a report that was created for LVEDC by Jay Garner of Garner Economics of Atlanta, Ga. This segment covers the “Major Industry Sector Composition” of our region and much more.

A comparison of major industry employment composition provides a broad relative assessment of differences among economies and may help indicate areas of uniqueness.

Lehigh Valley has a higher proportion of employment in Transportation and Warehousing and Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation. The area is tied with the state on the proportion employed in Retail Trade.

Conversely, the area has a lower relative proportion of employment in Federal & State Government, Agriculture, Mining, Professional and Technical Services, Finance and Insurance, and Real Estate and Rental and Leasing.

Total Employment

Over year 2012, total employment in Lehigh Valley is up 2.1 percent on average or 5,693 more jobs. The pace is above the nation, the state, and both benchmark communities. Since 2008, Lehigh Valley has experienced an annual average job growth rate of 0.2 percent, a pace also above the nation, the state, and both benchmark communities. Recession losses were not severe in Lehigh Valley, with the greatest losses at -4.2 percent, or -11,716 jobs, which is a pace less than what was experienced in the nation, the state, and one benchmark.


The average unemployment rate over the last year in Lehigh Valley has averaged 8.3 percent representing 28,554 unemployed persons). The rate is below the nation, the state, and one benchmark community. Over the last five years, the highest unemployment rate in Lehigh Valley was 9.9 percent (representing 32,489 unemployed persons), a rate above the state and one benchmark community. Over the entire 2008-2013 2Q period, the average unemployment rate in Lehigh Valley was 8.0 percent (representing 26,989 unemployed persons), a rate above the state and one benchmark community.

Cost of Living

At 101.8, the composite Cost-of-Living Index score in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metro is above both benchmark communities. Among individual categories, the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metro has the highest index numbers in Housing, Utilities, and Miscellaneous Goods & Services.


Measured as the percentage of households that have availability to select broadband offerings, Lehigh Valley places well, ranking highest or second highest in comparison to the nation, the state, and benchmark communities.

Airport Statistics

Among major airports in the United States, Lehigh Valley International (ABE) ranks 140th for the number of domestic passenger arrivals, 135th for scheduled flights, and 112th for the amount of freight/mail. ABE ranks below both Pittsburgh International and Piedmont Triad International.

Next week: Local specialization, competitiveness and growth.

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