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Bioscience Industry Adds Jobs Over the Last Decade, Despite Economic Setbacks for the Nation

Fifth biennial report by Battelle outlines 6.4% job growth in sector from 2001 to 2010, while overall economy recorded a 2.9% decline in jobs.</p>

Fifth biennial report by Battelle outlines 6.4% job growth in sector from 2001 to 2010,while overall economy recorded a 2.9% decline in jobs

Industry Remains Challenged However By Continuing Tight Capital Markets and Need For Regulatory Reform

BOSTON, Mass.—The Battelle/BIO State Bioscience Industry Developmentreportreleased today at the 2012 BIO International Conventionsignals significant job growth in the bioscience sector over the past decade, indicating the importance of the biosciences as an economic driver for the nation.  

The fifth biennial report analyzed the industry’s impact on the economy, which includes a state-by-state analysis of the industry, reveals that during the 2001 to 2010 period, the U.S. bioscience industry added jobs, despite losses in both the overall U.S. total private sector industry employment and other leading knowledge-based industries. It also analyzes  the current position and recent trends in national and state bioscience employment, establishments and wages.

“Given the continuing concerns about job creation in the U.S., we are pleased to report an increase of more than 96,000 jobs in the bioscience sector since 2001, even after accounting for the impacts of the recent severe recession,” said Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).“The Battelle/BIO report highlights the long term expansion of our industry and the high-paying salaries of our researchers and scientists that are developing innovations and life-saving medicines.”

Key report findings:

  • From 2001 to 2010 the U.S. bioscience industry gained jobs, despite wide-spread job losses across America.
  • During that time, the bioscience industry grew by 6.4 percent, adding more than 96,000 jobs. By comparison, total employment for all private sector industries in the U.S. fell by 2.9 percent, losing more than 3 million jobs.
  • The majority of the jobs added were in research, testing and laboratories, , adding 23.8 percent to the workforce or 87,000 jobs.
  • The U.S. bioscience industry weathered the recession much better than the overall economy and other leading knowledge-based industries.  While national private sector employment fell by 6.9% from the outset of the recession in 2007 through the first year of the recovery in 2010, bioscience industry employment fell a mere 1.4%. 
  •  The strength of the bioscience industry is seen when compared to other leading knowledge-based industries, such as information technology services, aerospace, computer equipment and finance and insurance, all of which recorded net job losses during the same period.
  • The biosciences has a broad footprint across the nation -- Thirty four states and Puerto Rico have an employment specialization (20 percent or more concentrated than the nation) in at least one of the five bioscience subsectors (drugs and pharmaceuticals, medical devices and equipment, research, testing and medical laboratories, agricultural feedstock and chemicals, and bioscience-related distribution).
  • The bioscience sector continues to be a source of high-wage jobs. The average bioscience job paid $82,697 in 2010, $36,000 more than the average private sector job.

“The bioscience industry is still resilient, even through these difficult economic times,” said Mitch Horowitz, Vice President and Managing Director of Battelle’s Technology Partnership Practice. “Looking to the future, the bioscience industry stands out amongst other markets and serves human health, agriculture, biofuels and other industrial applications.”

While the latest report details positive job growth in the industry, the broader economic and regulatory environment for the biotechnology industry remains challenging.  According to the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), U.S. venture capital funding for biotech was down 18% comparing Q1 2011 to Q1 2012. The Initial Public Offering (IPO) window remains tough and selective, with companies not able to raise the amount for which they initially file.

Complicating matters, the regulatory review processes are not keeping up with rapidly advancing science and are making it a more difficult environment to develop new treatments and products. A 2011 NCVA survey shows investors pulling out of certain areas of biotech, primarily due to the tough regulatory climate.


 "Biotech holds great promise to help jump-start our nation's economy and continue to add high-wage jobs," noted Greenwood. "In order to help drive economic growth, and continue to help feed, fuel and heal the world, we need public policies that encourage investments in biotech innovation and a more transparent, science-based regulatory environment."


The Battelle/BIO report includes individual profiles for all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and can be found on the BIO website at