The Biotechnology Industry Organization reports that total employment in the biosciences in the United States reached 1.3 million in 2006 (the latest year for which current data is available) and generated an additional 7.5 million related jobs. On average, U.S. biopharmaceutical employees earned $71,000 in 2006, more than $29,000 greater than the average private-sector annual wage. According to the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA), the annual growth in direct employment in the industry from 1996 - 2006 was 3.1%, while the rest of the economy was at 1.4%.
While overall growth was predicted to grow by 23% by 2012, the biopharm industry has not been immune to market changes, such as the global economic slowdown and business restructuring. According to BioWorld, the biotech industry saw 126 mergers and acquisitions in 2007. Major consolidations and patent expirations have resulted in some immediate layoffs as well as planned job reductions in upcoming years. However, there are factors contributing to increased demand for products generated by the biopharmaceutical industry such as the aging U.S. population, raising health consciousness of the general public, and growth of public and private health insurance programs which increasingly cover the costs of drugs and medicines.