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These 7 states really know biotech (and probably have jobs)

1:54 pm by | 0 Comments

What makes a dominant biotech hub? It comes down to five workforce sectors, according to Battelle: agricultural feedstock and chemicals; drugs and pharmaceuticals; medical devices; research, testing and medical labs; and bioscience-related distribution.

Battelle’s new jobs report released at BIO this week outlined not only the national and state-by-state job growth in all these sectors, but which parts of the country also have notable clusters of specialized jobs. Shake out all their data and only seven states have the magic combination of both a large employment base and a specialized concentration of jobs in at least two of the five sectors. Three states can lay claim to three of the five.

Most of the job data was not surprising. Battelle’s numbers, which analyzed job growth from 2001 to 2010, showed biotech has grown while the total private sector and the other “knowledge economy” areas like aerospace and IT services had declined. From 2007 to 2010, though, every biotech job sector but the research, testing and medical laboratories sector shed jobs.


The future life science economy is a wild card. Will your job be outsourced overseas or to a contract manufacturing company down the street? Will the region you’re in have the workforce to manage your company’s growth? Here’s the list of states that have a big concentration of jobs in multiple sectors, with workforce strength in multiple specializations.

California. No surprises here. California has the largest biotech job base (228,000) and it has concentrations for the specializations that matter most: drugs and pharmaceuticals; medical devices; and research, testing and medical labs. The latter field has grown by 36 percent since 2001 and “maintained strong job growth even during the recent recession years,” according to Battelle.

It has one-third of California’s job market (80,000) but half of the businesses focused on the biosciences. Its strengths: agricultural feedstock and chemicals; drugs and pharmaceuticals; and bioscience-related distribution. Interesting fact: its medical device sector has grown 10 percent since 2001.

Indiana. The bioscience sector has grown 14 percent over the last decade — more than double the national average — to about 60,000. The Battelle report says Indiana has specialized employment concentrations in four of the five major subsectors: agricultural feedstock and chemicals; drugs and pharmaceuticals; medical devices and equipment; and bioscience-related distribution (the other is New Jersey). But the state counts as having both a large employment base and a specialized concentration of jobs in the three following specialties: drugs and pharmaceuticals; medical devices and equipment; and bioscience-related distribution.

Massachusetts. Who would have thought Illinois would have more bioscience workers than Massachusetts (77,000)? But the concentration of employment is what makes Massachusetts impressive: some of the largest concentrations of medical device and research, testing and medical laboratory workers anywhere in the county. Its medical device sector has shed about 8 percent of its workforce from 2001 to 2010, but its research sector has grown by more than 36 percent over that time.

New Jersey. There are more than 90,000 bioscience employees in New Jersey with specialties in drugs and pharmaceuticals; research, testing, and medical labs; bioscience-related distribution; and medical devices. But there’s bad news in this report. Most of the state’s big-job sectors — pharma, medical devices and bioscience distribution — all shed jobs last decade. And the fourth — research, testing and medical labs — grew by just 3 percent.

Pennsylvania. It’s another state with lots of employees (82,000) but, like New Jersey, saw some key sectors take a beating last decade. The good news: the research, testing and medical laboratories sector grew by more than 21 percent. Its other big sector, drugs and pharmaceuticals, shed 17 percent of its workforce. Its medical device sector also dipped by 13 percent.

Florida. The state has 78,000 jobs but, at 5,100 businesses and other establishments focused on biosciences, has only 2,000 fewer businesses in the space than California. Its strength is in two sectors: agricultural, feedstock and chemicals as well as bioscience-related distribution — the latter sector grew by more than 31 percent from 2001 to 2010.

The report offers a breakdown of every state. There are tons of interesting tidbits including the fact that the states that simply added the most jobs last year — no matter the concentration strength — were Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Oregon, Utah, Texas and Wisconsin.

[Photo courtesy of Which Way is Up]

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Chris Seper

By Chris Seper MedCity News

Chris Seper is the CEO at MedCity Media, which publishes MedCityNews.com. He is also a senior writer at MedCity News. Reach him at [email protected]
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