State of the Lehigh Valley 2014-15


Recently, the Lehigh Valley Research Consortium presented the 2014-15 State of the Lehigh Valley: Community Trends at a Glance.

Each year, the Lehigh Valley Research Consortium publishes the State of the Lehigh Valley: Community Trends at a Glance, a report that showcases consortial faculty research on the quality of life in the Lehigh Valley region.  The report is released at an annual event each spring, which provides a venue for local business and community leaders to gather, listen to findings, and discuss opportunities for collaborative action. (LVAIC Website, May 2015)

The report focuses on 6 sections:

  • Providing Context for Thinking About Inequalities and Disparities
  • Economics/Employment
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Health, Accessibility, and Inclusion
  • Spotlight on the Counties
  • Special Focus: Urban Economic Development and its Effect on Housing, Unemployment, and Housing

Lehigh Valley Economic Development Resources- Spring 2015

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Below are two new resources available regarding Economic Development and the Workforce within the Lehigh Valley.

From the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC):

Lehigh Valley GDP Breakdown by Sector Shows Diverse Economy

Excerpted from the full article:

The four biggest sectors that make up the Lehigh Valley’s GDP all fall within $350 million of each other, demonstrating an extraordinary balance in the region’s economy.

The category of “finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing” is the single biggest contributor to the Lehigh Valley’s gross domestic product, making up $4.93 billion of the region’s total $34.3 billion GDP, according to data compiled by the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC).

But only slightly behind it are manufacturing ($4.77 billion), professional and business services ($4.71 billion) and educational services, health care and social assistance ($4.58 billion), according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

This extremely close split demonstrates how diverse and multi-faceted the Lehigh Valley’s economy has become. It’s a vast difference from 20 years ago, when the region was largely dominated by one industry in traditional heavy industry and manufacturing, anchored by the Bethlehem Steel Corporation.


                                                                                                                                         Graph Source: LVEDC website

From the Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Board (LVWIB):

 Job and Labor Market Outlook Report, May 2015

Data highlights from the report include:

Lehigh Valley Workforce Investment Area

  • Unemployment is 5.6%, down 1.1% from a year-ago.
  • The workforce is down by 1,400 and employment 2,300 higher than a year-ago.
  • Estimated Jobs are up by 3,100, to 285,100.
  • Manufacturing jobs were up 700; transportation & warehousing jobs up by 900.
  • Educational Services jobs up by 200 and Health Care jobs down by 600.
  • Government employment is down by 1,000.

Industry Openings

  • Total, All Industries 20,465
  • Health Care and Social Assistance 2,312
  • Administrative, Support & Waste Mgmt 1,518
  • Retail Trade 1,355
  • Manufacturing 1,002

Source: PA Labor & Industry, Center for Workforce Information & Analysis

PSU-LV Service Area Tuition Comparisons

3D chrome Dollar symbolThe PSLV Office of Institutional Planning has compiled the 2013 tuition rates for local colleges and universities in the Penn State Lehigh Valley service area. The information is helpful as part of the enrollment strategic planning process.

Tuition and Fees Comparisons among Lehigh Valley Service Area Colleges and Universities

Retention Article: Who Gets to Graduate?

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The New York Times shared a piece entitled, “Who Gets to Graduate?” by Paul Tough on May 15, 2014. The article discusses the findings from a variety of retention strategies at the University of Texas at Austin aimed at changing the mind-sets of incoming students to build success towards graduation.

From the article (page 16):

“Every college freshman- rich or poor, white or minority, first-generation or legacy- experiences academic setbacks and awkward moments when they feel they don’t belong. But white students and wealthy students and students with college-graduate parents tend not to take those moments too seriously or too personally. Sure they feel bad when they fail a test or get in a fight with a roommate or are turned down for a date. But in general, they don’t interpret those setbacks as a sign that they don’t belong in college or that they’re not going to succeed there.”

Access the full article at:

Problem Solving Skills of 15 Year-Olds (NCES International Report)

world-2In a three-page brief, the U.S. Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) share the findings of a 2012 assessment through the Program of International Student Assessment (PISA) that measured the ability of 15-year-olds to problem solve when confronted with common issues in the 21st century. 65 international education systems participated.

The U.S. average score was 508, which was higher than the average of 500. The U.S. average was lower than the average in ten education systems, higher than the average in twenty-two education systems, and not measurably different from the average in eleven education systems.

Singapore scored the highest; Colombia the lowest. View the brief: nces-pisa.pdf

To try out some of the test questions, visit

Online Expectations of Prospective College Students (Survey 2014)

In Spring 2014, Noel-Levitz conducted the 9th annual E-Expectations of Prospective College Students and Parents. According to the survey report:

The helicopter parent has been a mainstay of college admissions for years, and the era of social media, mobile devices, and constant contact appears to have made it easier for those parents to hover. While campus personnel may sometimes wish parents were less involved in the lives of students, it’s also true that as parents have become more involved in the admissions process, they also have become advocates for campuses. Colleges and universities now have many, many ways to recruit parents in addition to recruiting students.


Key findings of the survey for 2014 include:

–62% of students prefer web-based resources for learning about colleges (compared to 51% of parents; parents prefer more traditional ways such as phone calls and brochures)

–71% of students have looked at a college’s website on their mobile device (compared to 45% of parents)

–73% of students use YouTube (compared to 32% of parents)

View the full report and findings here: 2014 E-Expectations Report

Lehigh Valley Quick Facts 2014

question 1Recently the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation shared a user-friendly infographic showcasing interesting and informative Lehigh Valley data and information. Visit the website to check out the facts and download the infographic:

Some quick facts include:

  • Total Population: 651,948
  • Bachelor’s Degree: 16.6%
  • Labor Force (w/in 45-minute drive of Lehigh Valley International Airport): 502,433
  • Employment: Educational services, and health care and social assistance: 26%