TEConomy and BIO Report Highlights Strength of Biosciences Industry in the U.S.
Published: Jun 08, 2018 By Mark Terry
As the BIO International Convention was wrapping up in Boston, BIO and TEConomy Partners release their 2018 “Investment, Innovation and Job Creation in a Growing U.S. Bioscience Industry” report. It is the eighth biennial report, and focuses on the economic progress and the footprint of the industry geographically. It looks at performance, positioning and the latest trends in the industry for the country, states and metro areas.
The report notes that in the U.S., the bioscience industry directly employed 1.74 million people in 2016 in more than 85,000 companies. Since 2001, bioscience companies in the U.S. have added 273,000 jobs, an increase of about 19 percent, with net job gains in 13 of the last 15 years.
Wages in the industry are “consistently higher and growing faster, on average, than those for the overall economy,” the report cites, “reflecting the skilled, high-quality jobs in demand. The average U.S. bioscience worker earned nearly $99,000 in 2016, 85 percent greater than the average for the overall private sector.”
Other key findings include the industry’s total economic impact on the U.S. economy as totaling $2 trillion in 2016, and its 1.74 million direct employees being linked to an associated 8 million indirect jobs.
The company notes that New Jersey was among the country’s leaders in biosciences with a “very large, highly specialized and diverse industry base.”
That seems somewhat at odds with the focus of biotechnology startups in Boston and San Francisco, but New Jersey has long been a center for large pharmaceutical companies and manufacturing operations. From 2014 through 2016, bioscience employees in New Jersey grew by 2.6 percent to almost 94,000 jobs across 2,897 businesses.
The report also takes a look at venture capital investment in the industry. From 2014 through 2017, more than $66 billion in venture capital was invested in bioscience companies. Although variable, the overall trend is upward, with a reported $17 billion invested in 2015 and $20 billion in 2017.
The report notes, “For several years, concerns have been raised regarding declining and/or flat NIH research budgets and the subsequent effects on academic and other research. Fortunately for the bioscience community, NIH funding is back on the rise with budget increases sustained each of the last three years.”
The report notes that the employment change for biosciences in the U.S. from 2001 to 2016 has been 18.6, compared to a whopping 41.2 percent for software & computer services, but double that of 9.8 percent in the total private sector. And that it’s completely outstripping aerospace products & parts (-3.9%) and computer & peripheral equipment (-46.8%).
The report also breaks down the growth and health of various subsectors in bioscience, including research, testing and medical laboratories, distribution, medical device and equipment, drugs and pharmaceuticals, and agricultural feedstock and industrial biosciences.
“Research, testing and medical laboratories,” the report says, “is the largest and fastest growing among the bioscience industry subsectors since 2014. The subsector is unique relative to the others in its service offerings for contract and clinical research expertise. Subsector firms employ more than 547,000 or 31 percent of the overall bioscience industry and have an impressive record of net job gains on an annual basis as far back as 2001. Since 2014, both components of the subsector have grown but the biotechnology and other life sciences R&D employment has been faster, increasing nearly 10 percent compared with about 4 percent growth for medical labs.”