Pfizer Cuts Back Michigan Operations
Pfizer is expected to cut 250 positions in
George Erickcek, senior regional analyst with the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, said that since Pfizer is closing manufacturing facilities in
Although Pfizer hasn't confirmed that additional manufacturing jobs might come
Kitchens sees a silver lining in the cloud. He said the Pfizer scientists losing jobs in
"Companies that are hiring people with these skill sets have to recruit nationally, so we believe there will be a job for everybody because these are the exact skill sets many companies want," Kitchens said. "We feel very comfortable that there's a good safety net under those folks."
He said Southwest Michigan First knew five years ago that the Pfizer cuts were coming because every study and every industry trend indicated that consolidation was the way big pharma was headed.
"We see a real opportunity to help those individuals who are being displaced to either start new companies or transition into the existing life sciences community in
The dissolution of the Pfizer research group presents
"We think that's our future," Kitchens remarked.
Erickcek said that for the
"First, many of these scientists are married, so we'll also be losing their spouses; that's something we were surprised about three years ago when Pfizer cut back on research and development," he recalled. "Not only did it threaten the loss of some of the more highly skilled individuals in the county, but also if they leave they may be taking school teachers, university professors, doctors and other professional workers, as well."
The second impact is the multiplier effect, Erickcek said. He estimates that for every 10 research jobs that are lost at Pfizer, the area will lose another six to eight jobs in consumer services and retail.
"The real challenge, we all know, is that the state has to diversify from automobile manufacturing," Erickcek observed. "When we see the trend in other
Pfizer's decision creates yet another challenge for the state. Erickcek firmly believes that the decision was based on the corporate situation at Pfizer, and that it doesn't mean that the
"It is basically a corporate move to consolidate activities. When things are bad, corporations tend to bring work back home and consolidate to the home base," Erickcek said. "I do not see this as reflecting the business conditions, or competitiveness, or anything regarding the state's economic situation."
The news is also a blow to
Don Grimes, senior research specialist with the University of Michigan Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations, said the cuts will have a "very severe" impact on
He estimates that with the elimination of the 2,100 Pfizer positions, the Ann Arbor area will lose an additional 4,000 to 6,000 consumer service jobs when the "multiplier" kicks in.
The research scientists about to be displaced are a highly educated and well-compensated group, Grimes pointed out, and as their positions disappear, a lot of intellectual capacity will be freed up. It would be in
MichBio, the state's trade association for the life sciences, announced Wednesday that it is working with Pfizer, the governor and other state and local officials and agencies, as well as its own members, to assist in retaining the Pfizer scientists in
Executive Director Stephen Rapundalo said MichBio will serve as a clearinghouse for Pfizer employees looking for new employment opportunities or business venture opportunities. He urged life sciences companies to forward information about current or planned job openings and promised his organization would provide matchmaking support.
On Thursday, James Epolito, CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., announced that his agency will work with