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Life sciences hold up in recession

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Indiana’s life sciences companies held up better than their peers around the country—and far better than the rest of Indiana's private sector—during the early phases of the economic downturn.

That trend came through in a report released last week by the Biotechnology Industry Organization at its annual convention in Boston.

The report showed that—from 2007, the peak of the boom times, to 2010—Indiana’s life sciences companies shed about 420 jobs overall, or about 0.7 percent. The job loss rate was twice as high among life sciences firms nationally—and more than 10 times higher among all of Indiana’s private employers.

Meanwhile, during the same three-year period, wages for Indiana’s life sciences jobs rose 3.9 percent, to an annual average of $85,100. Wages at life sciences firms nationally rose just 0.6 percent during that period, to $82,700.

Wages among all of Indiana’s private-sector businesses fell a sharp 7.9 percent from 2007 to 2010, to an annual average of $49,500.

Those data, the most recent available, were produced by Ohio-based research firm Battelle, using job and wage figures for 27 life sciences-related industry subgroups, which were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“This again shows that the investments made over a decade ago are paying off,” said Kristin Jones, CEO of the Indiana Health Industry Forum, which is the Indiana affiliate of the Boston-based Biotechnology Industry Organization.

Interestingly, Indiana struggled most in the pharmaceutical sector during the 2007 to 2010 period. With Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. cutting more than 1,000 jobs here in 2010, employment in that sector tumbled 12.2 percent, to 17,141 workers.

The jobs that remain, however, tend to pay more than before. While pharmaceutical jobs experienced almost no increase in wages from 2001 to 2007, they surged 20 percent from 2007 to 2010, when they averaged $127,600 per worker.

Battelle’s analysis marked out states that have a specialization in each of five life sciences sectors, which include pharmaceuticals, agricultural chemicals, medical devices, research and biosciences distribution. A state was determined to have a specialization if its jobs per capita in one of those sectors was more than 20 percent higher than the national average.

No state had a specialization in all five sectors. Only Indiana, New Jersey and Puerto Rico had specializations in four out of five of the sectors. The only sector  in which Indiana lagged was research, where it has 20 percent fewer jobs per capita than the national average.

“Our industry here is both diverse and deep, and we’re now fully positioned to do even more,” David Johnson, CEO of the Indianapolis-based life sciences development group BioCrossroads, said in a prepared statement. “In fact, and especially at this time of challenge and change, it is critical that we continue to build from strength and pursue opportunities to encourage growth, innovation and support.”

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  1. Now if he'd just stay there...

  2. Daniel - what about the many US citizens who do NOT follow what the Bible teaches? The Hindus, Jews, Muslims and others who are all American citizens entitled to all rights as Americans?? This issue has NOTHING to do with "What the Bible says..." Keep all Churches separate from State! Pence's ongoing idiocy continues to make Indiana look like a backwards, homophobic state in the eyes of our nation. Can't we move on to bigger issues - like educating our kids?

  3. 1. IBJ should link to the referenced report. We are in the age of electronic media...not sharing information is lazy. Here is a link http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Blue_Ribbon_Panel_Report_July_9_2014.pdf 2. The article should provide more clarity about the make-up of this panel. The commenters are making this item out to be partisan, it does not appear the panel is partisan. Here is a list of the panel which appears to be balanced with different SME to add different perspectives http://www.in.gov/activecalendar/EventList.aspx?view=EventDetails&eventidn=138116?formation_id=189603 3. It suggests a by-pass, I do not see where this report suggests another "loop". 4. Henry, based on your kneejerk reaction, we would be better off if you moved to another state unless your post was meant as sarcasm in which case I say Well Done. 5. The article and report actually indicates need to improve rail and port infrastructure in direct contradiction to Shayla commentary. Specifically, recommendation is to consider passenger rail projects... 6. People have a voice with their elected officials. These are suggestions and do not represent "crony capitalism", etc. The report needs to be analyzed and the legislature can decide on priorities and spending. Don't like it, then vote in a new legislature but quit artificially creating issues where there are none! People need to sift through the politics and provide constructive criticism to the process rather than making uninformed comments in a public forum based on misinformation. IBJ should work harder to correct the record in these forums when blatant errors or misrepresentations are made.

  4. Joe ... Marriage is defined in the Bible ... it is mentioned in the Bible often. Marriage is not mentioned once in the US or Indiana Constitution ...

  5. Daniel - Educate me please: what does the Bible have to do with laws? If the government wasn't in the business of marriage to begin with, then it wouldn't have to "define" marriage at all. Marriage could be left as a personal, religious, or otherwise unregulated action, with no ties to taxes, legal status, etc. Then people could marry whomever they want, and all this silliness would go away. Remember to vote Libertarian in November.

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