The life sciences industry is one of America's strongest performers in terms of creating high-wage jobs. Life sciences-industry jobs pay an average wage of $84,992, which is almost double the average U.S. wage. In part because of these high wages, 1.2 million jobs in the life sciences industry support an additional 5.8 million jobs indirectly. Employment in the life sciences grew 5.7 percent from 2001 to 2006, almost twice the rate of the 3.1 percent increase in employment in the overall private sector. In total, the life sciences industry accounts for $69 billion in U.S. economic activity and represents one of the country's most vital industries.