Realtors like to use the phrase “location, location, location” to describe the key factors in the value of a property. The patch of prime real estate known as the Lehigh Valley remains economically competitive, largely because its proximity to major markets such as New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. keeps its population and labor force growing.
Lehigh Valley Employment Projections
An aging population, increased life expectancy and advances in medical technology have helped make the healthcare industry the Lehigh Valley’s largest jobs sector, employing nearly 60,000 people. While healthcare employment is and will continue to be in strong demand, transportation and warehousing are growing fast. That again can be credited to a location that gives the region easy access to three major interstates and the ports of New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia, as well as rail freight service provided by two major rail lines.
The region boasts a diverse array of employment opportunities, creating a stability that enables it to rebound more quickly from economic downturns. The labor market has become more service-oriented than goods-producing, but manufacturing – the sector once dominated by Bethlehem Steel, but now carried by such companies as Air Products, Just Born and Mack Trucks – still employs more than 30,000 people.
The Workforce Board Lehigh Valley and the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation have identified five key regional sectors:
Transportation, Warehousing and Logistics
Health Care and Social Assistance
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
Finance and Insurance
Source: The Workforce Board Lehigh Valley
A quarter of the fastest-growing occupations in the Lehigh Valley are within the health field. The construction and the machinist/mechanic fields each held three of the top 20 spots.
Employment density is high within the urban core of the region, where transportation, sewer and water infrastructure is in place.
Gross Domestic Product
The overall economic output, or Gross Domestic Product (GDP), of the region is about $27 billion. While the manufacturing sector does not employ the highest percentage of workers, the industry provides the largest economic output of the region—about 18% of the overall GDP. The healthcare industry follows, providing more than 13% of the overall GDP.