Even as health care employment grows, albeit more slowly than in 2009, changes to the pharmaceutical landscape could mean the relatively-small number of layoffs in that industry might soon increase again.
(Vocus) February 18, 2010 -- January was something of a confusing month in terms of the employment situation. Overall, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 9.7 percent, although outplacement consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas reported a five-month high in job cuts of employees on full-time payrolls. Of those 71,000-plus layoff announcements, about 8,100 were in the pharmaceutical industry. However, health care gained another 15,000 jobs – trending lower than in 2009.
Though the 8,000-plus jobs lost in pharmaceuticals seems high, it pales in comparison to January 2009, when more than 22,000 jobs were lost in that field. Most of the job cut announcements in January 2010 came from AstraZeneca, who announced plans to cut 8,000 of their employees worldwide while outsourcing more research and development (timesonline.co.uk, 1/29/10). Also, GlaxoSmithKline employees have reason to worry, as that company is looking to save hundreds of millions of dollars – likely by laying off up to 4,000 people – although no official announcements have been made yet (themanufacturer.com, 2/8/10). On a somewhat positive note, although Pfizer also said they will have to eliminate some jobs by March, the number is likely to be smaller than the 230 originally filed with the state of Pennsylvania (delcotimes.com, 1/15/10).
Part of the difficulty facing the pharmaceutical industry is that patien
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