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Bioscience Growth Steady Despite Rocky Economics

05/06/2010
The BIO/Battelle State Biosciences Initiatives report, issued every two years, indicates that total employment in the U.S. bioscience sector has exceeded 1.42 million, with another 6.5 million jobs indirectly supported by biotech.

The annual growth registered a healthy 1.4 percent during the first year of the recession, despite a decline in total private sector employment of 0.7 percent.

The BIO/Battelle report cites Bureau of Labor Statistics projections forecasting sustained annual growth of 1.5 percent in biotech through 2018.

Research, testing and medical labs added 11,670 jobs, a 2.1 percent increase, from 2007 to 2008. Medical devices and equipment added 10,140 jobs, a rise of 2.4 percent , for the same period; agricultural feedstock and chemicals added 5,021 jobs, a jump of 4.6 percent.

Since 2001, more than 176,000 jobs have been added in the research, testing and medical lab sector, with total employment in the sector now topping 558,000.

The drug and pharmaceutical sectors shed jobs, with a decrease of 7,445 positions from 2007 to 2008.

California is the biotech employment leader, far outpacing the competition. The Golden State is home to 221,096 biotech workers, followed by New Jersey with 88,854, Pennsylvania with 80,929, Massachusetts with 72,627, and Texas with 64,964.

"Not every biotech company made it through the storm. Fifty publicly traded companies went bankrupt for lack of access to capital. But there is much good news. Biotech stocks outperformed virtually every other index in the first quarter of this year. The markets have come back but Biotech has come back faster and stronger," said Jim Greenwood, Battelle president. Battelle, which is the world's largest independent research and development organization, produces the report with support from BIO.

The biosciences continued to grow during the first year of the recession. Employment in the biosciences sector grew 1.4 percent from 2007 to 2008, while total private sector employment declined by 0.7 percent.

Rapid growth in the biosciences has been fueled primarily by growth in research, testing and medical laboratories. The subsector added more than 176,000 jobs between 2001 and 2008, accounting for 9 out of every 10 new bioscience jobs created during this time period. The bioscience sector continues to be a source of high-wage jobs. The average bioscience job paid $77,595 in 2008, $32,000 more than the average private sector job.

Each bioscience job generates an additional 5.8 jobs in the national economy.

"States and regions are targeting the bioscience sector because it is a source of high-wage, high-skill jobs," said Mitchell Horowitz, VP of Battelle's Technology Partnership Practice. "But policymakers also realize that biosciences development is not simply about generating economic returns. The great promise of biosciences is its ability to address global problems, from human health to food generation and security to environmental sustainability and clean energy. Bioscience development pays huge social and quality of life dividends for the U.S. and the world."

The annual growth in the biotech sector registered a healthy 1.4 percent during the first year of the recession, despite a decline in total private sector employment of 0.7 percent. The BIO/Battelle report cites Bureau of Labor Statistics projections forecasting sustained annual growth of 1.5 percent in biotech through 2018.

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