'Bioscience' industry continues to grow through the past recession, says Battelle

Battelle's biennial survey adds 'bioscience-related distribution' to industry sectors it tracks

One of the highlights of recent BIO meetings (the latest in Boston, June 17-21) is the biennial analysis from Battelle Technology Practice Group (Columbus, OH). Besides tracking employment and investment trends in each of the 50 states, the study attempts to isolate what parts of the US economy are based on biotechnology, and the historic trends. By Battelle’s estimate, biosciences overall have gained 96,000 jobs through the 2001-2010 period, and now represents 1.6 million jobs in direct and induced employment, and 5.1 million jobs when “indirect” jobs are added in. The pharmaceuticals sector, on its own, was 296,759 in 2010—down 7.0% from when the recession began in 2007; and down 3.1% since 2001. (It’s worth noting that the reports of tens of thousands of layoffs and industry contraction over the past few years have been nearly balanced by new hiring and new companies in the sector.)

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."

Like the BIO itself, the study is not exclusively focused on biopharma, but includes medical devices, agricultural biotechnology and general bio-related research. This year, for the first time, Battelle also incorporated a new category—“biosciences-related distribution”—to capture more of the downstream economic activity. That sector employed 440,394 in 2010, up 6.0% from 2001. Battelle counts distribution of all types of pharmaceuticals, and selected types of medical devices, diagnostic equipment and bioimaging equipment, as well as plant seeds and agricultural chemicals. States with both a large and “concentrated” (meaning a relatively high proportion of overall state employment) in biosciences distribution are Florida and Illinois.

The other biosciences categories are: medical devices and equipment (343,468 workers, down 0.3% from 2001); research, testing and medical laboratories (451,923, up 23.8%); and agricultural feedstock and chemicals (72,998, down 5.9%).

In the state-by-state rankings of the overall biosciences sector—and solely by worker count—California is the far-and-away leader, with 228,700 jobs, followed by new Jersey (91,167);Texas (78,452); Illinois (79,961); Florida (78,062); Massachusetts (77,762); and New York (74,873).