Utah's Life Sciences Field Thriving
A recent assessment of Utah’s life sciences industry shows that it’s well ahead of the rest of the county. Suzanne Winters, Life Science Cluster Manager for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, says a consultant researched everything from workforce data to technical publications, and found that employment in Utah’s life sciences industry grew by nearly 26 percent from 2001 to 2010, compared to 8.4 percent nationally.
“Life science employment did not experience the downturn that general employment did in the state. In fact, we were on a continued trajectory up. I won’t call it recession-proof but it is certainly recession-resistant type of employment.”
Life science careers include working in medical devices and equipment, pharmaceuticals, medical labs and biomedical distribution. Winters says Utah has the jobs, but still lags behind in pay.
“In terms of growth of absolute numbers of employees we are doing significantly better at our growth rate than the national average. Our salaries, however, are about 30-40 percent lower than the national average.”
The average wage for jobs in the life sciences in Utah is approximately $59,000. In 2010 that industry contributed $14.6 billion in economic output to the state.