The Center Square | by Christian Wade | September 26, 2022
(The Center Square) – Maine’s budding life sciences sector has outpaced the U.S. and Northeast region in job growth over the past several years, according to a new industry report.
The report by the Bioscience Association of Maine said the $2.2 billion sector employed at least 9,540 people at 484 businesses last year, a 42% increase over the past five years.
The growth of life science jobs in Maine outpaced overall job growth in the nation and state, according to the report. From 2011 to 2021, the number of jobs in Maine’s life science sector has increased by 48% compared to only 12% nationally and 30% in the New England region.
Between 2001 and 2021, the average annual earnings of Maine’s Life Science jobs increased by 128% to $108,741, far outpacing earnings growth across all of Maine’s industries and the New England region, according to the report.
The median hourly wages for life science jobs in Maine was $31.05 an hour last year, compared to $23.21 for other occupations of the state, the report noted.
Nearly two-thirds of the life science jobs in Maine are in the pharmaceutical, medical manufacturing and scientific research development sectors.
The report noted that life science sector organizations were “key responders” to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has helped dramatically increase employment in the sector over the past three years.
“It remains to be seen whether recent employment levels persist and this will likely depend on the ongoing prevalence of coronavirus variants and public health response measures,” the report’s authors wrote.”However, the strong response of the life sciences industry at the onset of the pandemic has established competitive advantages to build well for the industry moving forward.”
The growth of the state’s life science sector has also coincided with the influx of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal research and development money.
Maine has roped in more than $515 million in National Institute of Health grants, as well as $14.1 million from the National Science Foundation in biological science awards, between 2017 and 2021, according to federal data.