State’s life sciences sector shed 500 jobs in 2017, even as economic impact soared

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The number of jobs in Indiana’s life sciences sector shrunk by about 1 percent last year, or 510 jobs, and average annual wages fell by 4 percent, to $94,749.

That dip occurred even as the sector’s economic impact jumped 24 percent, to $78 billion, according to figures released this month and last year by BioCrossroads, an Indianapolis group that promotes and invests in the sector, and the Indiana Business Research Center at the Indiana University Kelley School of Business.

The economic impact of the life sciences on the state is based on productivity, exports, company revenue, capital expenditures and several other factors that contribute to the number, a BioCrossroads spokeswoman said.

She added that the data sets are compiled by IMPLAN, a widely used data provider that derives its name from "impact analysis for planning." IMPLAN officials have determined that companies’ purchases of capital equipment, raw materials and other supplies, and the impact on those related suppliers (multiplier effect), are higher than in past years.

According to BioCrossroads’ annual report, the number of life science companies in Indiana increased slightly last year, from 1,687 to 1,689. Yet the sector shed more than 500 jobs. The report did not say why the number of jobs fell, but some companies, including Lilly have been restructuring and cutting jobs. Lilly chopped more than 2,000 U.S. jobs last year but has not said how many of those cuts happened in Indiana.

Indiana’s life sciences payroll was $5.3 billion last year, down from $5.6 billion a year earlier.

The Food and Drug Administration approved 80 new products for Indiana life sciences companies in 2017, up from 77 in 2016.

Indiana is global headquarters for such industry powerhouses as drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co., device maker Cook Medical, insurer Anthem Inc. and orthopedic maker Zimmer Biomet.

In addition, Indiana is the North American headquarters of Roche Diagnostics; and other companies have major operations here, including DowDupont, Covance, Beckman Coulter, DuPuy Orthopaedics, Express Scripts, and Medtronic.

BioCrossroads and the IBRI define the life sciences industry as a combination of pharmaceutical, medical device and equipment, agricultural biosciences, testing and medical laboratories, and biologistics.

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