Driven by rapid innovation made possible in large part by the mapping of the human genome, genetic and genomic clinical laboratory testing generates 116,000 U.S. jobs and contributes $16.5 billion annually to the U.S. economy, according to a new report by the Battelle Memorial Institute. Because this industry sector is still in the early stages of development, according to the report, much future growth is expected to occur.
The report said the industry sector's ability to innovate and produce cutting-edge genetic testing services and products supports about 44,000 direct jobs and generates about another 73,000 jobs in key supplier industries, such as real estate, food services and wholesale trade businesses, as well as a result of consumer spending by laboratory employees. Together, the genetic and genomic laboratory testing sector-related workforce received nearly $6 billion in wages and benefits in 2009. It also generated $657 million in estimated state and local tax revenue and nearly $1.2 billion in federal taxes in 2009.
"The fact that genetic and genomic testing has created 116,000 jobs and $6 billion in personal income for U.S. workers in the middle of one of the country's worst recessions should be noted by U.S. policy leaders," said Alan Mertz, president of the American Clinical Laboratory Association (ACLA).
Battelle said that comparatively high levels of wages and salaries are provided within the industry, along with sound benefits packages. It found that the annual average personal income of a worker in this sector was about $57,000 in 2009—a significant wage premium as compared to roughly $45,000 in the overall U.S. economy.
The report was sponsored by ACLA and its educational arm, Results for Life.