Report highlights economic impact of the US bioscience industry

By Erin Voegele | July 08, 2014

A report recently published by the Biotechnology Industry Organization and Battelle indicates the U.S. bioscience industry demonstrated strong growth from 2011 to 2012, has navigated the economic recession better than most industries, and is once again growing. The report, titled Battelle/BIO State Bioscience Jobs, Investments and Innovation 2014,” is the sixth in a biennial series. 

The report shows that the U.S. bioscience industry as a whole directly employs an estimated 1.62 million people. Nearly 111,000 new high-paying jobs have been created in the sector since 2001. In the private sector, the sector has contributed an additional 6.24 million jobs through indirect employment, leading to a total impact of 7.86 million jobs. According to the report, private sector employment in the U.S. fell by 3.1 percent from the beginning of the recession in 2007 through 2012. During the same time period, however, employment in the bioscience industry fell only 0.4 percent. Since 2007, the economic output of the bioscience industry grew by 17 percent, nearly twice the national private sector nominal output growth.

The report addresses five specific subsectors of the bioscience industry, including agricultural feedstock and chemicals, bioscience-related distribution, drugs and pharmaceuticals, medical devices and equipment, and research testing and medical labs. According to information included in the report, the analysis determined that 14 states have specialized in agricultural feedstock and chemicals.

The report notes that U.S. agricultural feedstock and chemicals companies operated nearly 1,800 business establishments and supported 76,000 direct jobs in 2012, accounting for approximately 5 percent of bioscience jobs. Employment in the subsector has remained relatively stable since 2011, dropping only 1.5 percent. While the subsector lost jobs for several years during the recession, the 2012 job gain was 2.3 percent.

Gross economic output for the subsector grew by 125 percent from 2001 through 2012, a significantly higher than both the 69 percent growth for the total biosciences industry and the 50 percent growth rate for the U.S. private sector as a whole. From 2007 through 2012, the agricultural feedstock and chemicals subsector achieved a grows economic output increase of 29 percent, higher than the 17 percent output growth for the bioscience sector as a whole and 9 percent for the private sector.

“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.”

A full copy of the report can be downloaded from the BIO website.