Right now, there's a great deal of financial uncertainty in the markets. As you may be aware if you are following the news, there's a potential for more years of recession if the two branches of Government can't work out a compromise. Seems crazy that they can't, but that's a story for another forum.
With regards to scientific jobs, there is a great deal of money "waiting" to come into the biotech industry in the USA. Investors WANT to risk their money -- they just need to be comfortable about where they are with regards to taxes and other obligations. My guess, however, is that there will not be any further shrinking of venture money. My guess is that it will grow in 2013, even if there's a "cliff" that we fall over financially. This will mean there will be more biotech jobs in 2013, but no one can forecast much more than that. And even that general statement may be because I am more of an optimist than some others!
It's interesting to note, however, that our company (a recruiting firm working with these businesses and others in the life sciences) is considerably ahead of the last two years. Even though the business climate has been terrible, there are people hiring and there is a great deal of growth from smaller ventures. The difficulty for our readers at the Forum is that the hiring, while definitely on an upswing, is so much more selective than in the past. It is actually harder to move from academia to industry because companies are VERY cautious about being burned by hiring the wrong person. You've got to show a very tight focus on something of interest to industry to be employed now in an entry-level capacity.
"The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability as opposed to resilience and hard work, we will be brittle in the face of adversity" -- Joshua Waitzkin