As an extremely difficult year came to a close, the health care industry remained a bright spot in terms of employment growth. But that was offset by a rough ride for pharmaceuticals, which shed more than 60,000 jobs in 2009. If the actions of the larger pharmaceutical companies going into 2010 are any indication, the trouble isn't over just yet.
(Vocus) January 21, 2010 -- As one of the most difficult economic years in the past two decades came to a close, the health care industry remained one bright spot, adding another 22,000 jobs in December 2009, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Additionally, the overall unemployment rate in the U.S. remained steady at 10 percent. However, December was a difficult month for the pharmaceutical industry, closing out a difficult year that saw the elimination of more than 60,000 pharmaceutical company jobs, according to outplacement consultants Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
Pharmaceutical company layoffs dominated that industry's news feeds in December, including many reports of job losses in the northeastern U.S. Smaller companies did announce layoffs in December -- such as Forest Labs, which was forced to let 84 workers go (newsday.com, 12/2/09) -- but the bigger names dominated the news as the year ended. Pfizer announced plans to cut 680 jobs in Pennsylvania, mostly from campuses acquired in their purchase of Wyeth (philly.com, 1/9/10), and further noted that they would have to eliminate a total of 20,000 jobs following the Wyeth purchase. Pfizer also received more bad news in December, announcing that they were halting a trial of a new lung cancer medication, due to its ineffectiveness in
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