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Report: Biotech Provides Nearly 8 Million Jobs In U.S.

KPBS Evening Edition host Peggy Pico speaks with Scott Whitaker, chief operating officer and president of BIO International Convention, in San Diego, June 24, 2014.
Emily Burns
KPBS Evening Edition host Peggy Pico speaks with Scott Whitaker, chief operating officer and president of BIO International Convention, in San Diego, June 24, 2014.
Report: Biotech Provides Nearly 8 Million Jobs In U.S.

Bioscience companies employ 1.6 million people in the United States and indirectly are responsible for another 6.2 million jobs around the country, according to a report released in San Diego on Tuesday.

The sector has added 111,000 jobs since 2001, lost only 0.4 percent of its total positions from 2007-12 as a result of the recession and added more workers than other industries since the economic turndown, the report said.

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"Battelle/BIO State Bioscience Jobs, Investments and Innovation 2014" was released as part of the Biotechnology Industry Organization International Convention underway at the San Diego Convention Center.

The study by Battelle, a Columbus, Ohio-based research and development firm, also found that bioscience companies pay their employees 80 percent more on average than other private sector industries.

"These biotech jobs are a critical economic component to states and local communities across the nation," said Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of BIO.

San Diego was one of nine metropolitan areas in the U.S. to have clusters of at least four biotech specialties, including drugs and pharmaceuticals; medical devices and equipment; research, testing and medical laboratories; and bioscience-related distribution, according to the report.

San Diego only lacks the agricultural feedstock and chemicals specialty.

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A decline in federal research funding through the National Institutes of Health and a recent drop in private capital investment were listed as industry challenges in the report.

BIO called for regulatory systems that are predictable and grounded in science, strong domestic and international protection for intellectual property, medical reimbursement policies that foster the development of new medical products, sustaining of open markets, tax and incentive program that allow industry competitiveness, and education and workforce development improvements.

Former Secretary of State and first lady Hillary Clinton is scheduled to speak to attendees Wednesday.

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