Report shows bioscience industry is robust; primed for growth

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A study released analyzing the U.S. bioscience industry growth over the past 11 years, through the recent recession and early economic recovery, reveals positive trends. The industry demonstrated a strong record of growth from 2001-2012, has navigated the deep economic recession better than most industries and is once again growing.

The report, Battelle/BIO State Bioscience Jobs, Investments and Innovation 2014, the sixth in a biennial series from Battelle and BIO tracking the U.S. bioscience industry, reveals a robust bioscience sector that has weathered difficult economic conditions and is on a course for continued growth. The state-by-state industry assessment finds U.S. bioscience firms directly employ 1.62 million people, a figure that includes nearly 111,000 new, high-paying jobs created since 2001.

Within the private sector, the bioscience industry has been a signature performer over this period, contributing an additional 6.24 million jobs through the indirect employment effect, yielding a total employment impact of 7.86 million jobs. Furthermore, the bioscience industry continues to create and sustain high-wage jobs, paying an average 80% more than the overall private sector average salary – and growing at a faster rate.

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 3.1% from the outset of the recession in 2007 through 2012, bioscience industry employment fell a mere 0.4%. While employment has almost returned to its pre-recession level, the economic output of the bioscience industry has expanded significantly with, 17% growth since 2007, almost twice the national private sector nominal output growth.

The study presents the most up-to-date data available on national, state and metropolitan area bioscience industry employment and recent trends from 2001 to 2012, though much of the assessment focuses on the industry’s more recent performance from 2007. The report also presents a set of key bioscience performance metrics and profiles recent university and state initiatives designed to accelerate growth of the biosciences and other technology industries.

“This report highlights the long-term expansion of our industry and the significant impact of the high-paying jobs that come with developing the innovative technologies that are helping feed, fuel and heal the world. These biotech jobs are a critical economic component to states and local communities across the nation,” said Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of BIO. “While the bioscience industry has continued to grow, our analysis shows it is not immune to market realties. State-level legislative and regulatory policies directly impact the innovation that brings research from the lab to the marketplace, and BIO will continue to advocate for effective public policy at every level of government.”

“The fact that the biosciences industry weathered the recession and slow economic recovery better than the overall economy and has been a top-performing industry over the last decade demonstrates its importance as an economic driver for our nation,” said Mitch Horowitz, Vice President at Battelle. “While bioscience employment has picked up in 2011 and 2012, its promising growth cannot be taken for granted.”

Additional highlights from the industry analysis include:

  • The research, testing and medical laboratories subsector has been the primary engine of bioscience industry job growth—increasing employment by 28 percent since 2001 and by nearly 10 percent since 2007.
  • Through strong economic multiplier impacts, each bioscience job generates an additional 3.9 jobs in the U.S. economy (employment multiplier of 4.9).
  • The industry is well distributed across the United States and plays a major role as an economic driver. Thirty-three 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, which include agricultural feedstock and chemicals; bioscience-related distribution; drugs and pharmaceuticals; medical devices and equipment; and research, testing and medical labs.
  • In the recent 2007 to 2012 period, which includes the recession and early years of the recovery, 28 states had overall job gains in the biosciences.
  • Of the nation’s 381 metropolitan areas, 216 have a specialized employment concentration in at least one of the bioscience subsectors. Twenty-nine regions have a specialized employment concentration in at least three of the five subsectors.

Highlights from the analysis of innovation performance metrics include:

  • The number of bioscience-related patents issued in the U.S. has steadily increased every year since 2009, with a growth rate that has exceeded that for all patents.
  • Academic R&D in the biosciences saw a $4.7 billion increase from 2009 through 2012 of $4.7 billion, or 14% increase.
  • Battelle/BIO see signs of stress in the bioscience innovation ecosystem that are a concern for the future if not addressed. These include declines in federal funding for biomedical research through the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as recent declines in risk capital invested in the biosciences. These trends can create barriers to advancing bioscience innovation in the future.

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 http://bio.org/Battelle2014.


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