Report: Wisconsin’s bioscience industry employment growth outpaces nation

But wage growth lags national average

Employment growth in Wisconsin’s bioscience industry has outpaced the national average in recent years, according to a new study from a national biotechnology trade organization.

According to the report from the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, Wisconsin saw 5.8 percent growth in employment in the bioscience industry from 2014-16, compared to the national average of 4.4 percent. During the same period, the number of bioscience establishments grew 13.4 percent in Wisconsin, compared to 7.7 percent nationally.

Wages grew at a more sluggish pace, however. According to the report, the average annual wage in Wisconsin’s bioscience industry grew by 1.5 percent from 2014-16. That was about half the rate of the national average of 3.1 percent. The average annual wage in Wisconsin’s bioscience industry was $77,957 in 2016. Nationally, the average annual wage was $98,961.

Wisconsin saw the largest growth in the research, testing and medical laboratories sector. The number of establishments in that sector grew by 25 percent from 2014-16 (compared to 13 percent nationally) and employment grew by 12 percent (compared to 8 percent nationally). That sector posted an average annual wage of $91,985 in Wisconsin in 2016, compared to $84,746 nationally.

Milwaukee had the fifth highest concentration of medical devices and equipment jobs nationally, with that sector representing 9,941 jobs in the state.

According to the report, the state has seen a steady increase in National Institutes of Health awards from 2014-17, growing from $383 million to $425 million in that period.

Bioscience-related venture capital investments in Wisconsin grew from $42 million in 2014 to $122 million in 2015, before dropping to $95 million and $38 million the following two years. During those years, the vast majority of venture capital investments were related to health care technology systems, which represented $114 million. Biotechnology was second ($57 million), followed by drug discovery and delivery (38 million).

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