JLL Report Ranks Up-and-Coming Life Sciences Hubs

United States

There are a number of strong and expanding life sciences hubs in the United States, with Boston, San Francisco and San Diego claiming the top three spots. New markets are emerging, and a new report from the market research team at JLL pinpoints some of these growing areas.

The JLL team ranked these emerging areas based on a number of metrics, including employment base, talent, millennial population, median household income growth and the availability of housing. In the report, the JLL team said they wanted to determine which factors would “would best capture the most dynamic and substantial trends within the industry.”

The report first examined the employment landscape to determine which life sciences jobs are seeing the biggest growth. The researchers also examined the talent pipeline, as well as a measure of potential, which JLL said “is designed to reflect transformational upside with respect to the life sciences industry in a given market and includes relevant demographic indicators that will enable the market to mature into long-term national prominence.”

To compile its report, JLL examined 110 U.S. markets to capture as many of these metrics as possible.

“Though Boston, San Francisco and San Diego will always occupy a vaulted place within the life sciences pantheon, the incredible dynamism of the industry is jump-starting new markets that are of growing interest to life sciences investors and companies alike thanks to their lifestyle, cost of living and demographic advantages,” JLL said.

The area with the highest potential, according to the report, is the greater Charlotte, N.C. The Seattle area came in second, followed closely by the Denver region and the area around Austin, Texas.

“These markets have a critical mass of educated millennial professionals that will draw in additional talent (and perhaps provide jobs for the other half of two-income couples),” the report said.

In the employment acceleration category, the area of Washington State that stretches between Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma posted a 3.1% acceleration rate. It was followed closely behind a swath of Georgia that includes Atlanta, Sandy Springs and Alpharetta, which recorded a 3% employment acceleration rate. Other emerging areas the JLL report saw increases include Madison, Wisconsin, Miami, Charlotte, N.C., and the Kentucky/ Indiana area of Louisville and Jefferson County.

Sun Belt markets constitute a high share of job growth overall. JLL said that given already-positive underlying trends, “their life sciences ascent should be of great interest to potential investors and occupiers alike.”

The Los Angeles Area posted the highest indexed median wage. Parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin and North Carolina followed suit. The Raleigh/Durham, Dallas and Seattle areas are boosted by lower cost of living than the more established life sciences markets. Los Angeles benefits from its prominence within the medical device industry, which enjoys tailwinds from the increased prominence of diagnostics, remote patient monitoring, and robotics, JLL said.

The area with the highest number of STEM degrees is that triangle between Philadelphia, New York and parts of New Jersey. According to the report, there are 1.18 million STEM degrees in that area. The Los Angeles area came in second with 683,770 total STEM degrees. In third place is the city of Chicago and outlying suburbs where there are 539,328 STEM degrees.

“Over the past 10 years, the national life sciences industry has advanced enough through prodigious research and technological process to broaden the overall industry knowledge base, enabling more institutions to contribute. Therefore, not just the concentration but the sheer number of STEM degrees is an important factor in life sciences success,” the report said.

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