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News July 12, 2011

The job market: Not so healthy--or is it?

A 9.2% unemployment rate is disturbing, but there appears to be cause for optimism regarding healthcare packaging-related jobs.

Some grim post-Independence Day news was delivered in early July by the U.S. Dept. of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) when it reported that the nation's unemployment rate was “little changed” at 9.2%.

In a PharmaManufacturing.com story, Amanda DeSalvatore, project manager with Avant Executive Solutions, a recruiter of personnel in the pharmaceutical/biopharma area, said, “With small and medium-sized companies, everything is riding on their clinical trials. If they're doing well, they're definitely hiring.” She added that companies are focusing on prospective employees with specialized skill sets. Avant's Web site does list job opportunities.

Some good news did come out of the BLS report: “Health care employment continued to trend up in June (+14,000), with the largest gain in ambulatory health care services. Over the prior 12 months, health care had added an average of 24,000 jobs per month.”

These figures pertain to health care jobs in general. What about packaging jobs in the healthcare market? There are so many factors at play, but a recent Freedonia report delivered some optimism, saying, “The U.S. will remain the largest consumer of pharmaceutical packaging as its advanced drug-producing sector introduces sophisticated therapies with specialized packaging needs.”

Those advances will involve not only pharmaceuticals, but biologics, medical devices, and combination products, from product development to package design to line operators and regulatory experts.

-Jim Butschli, Healthcare Packaging editor

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