Tugboat, Curtis Bay, Baltimore, Maryland, August 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Maryland's economy continues to outperform the country as a whole. Information technology, telecommunications, and aerospace and defense are leading forces behind Maryland's economic growth. In the biotechnology area, Maryland is a noted leader and is at the center in the mapping of the human genome and commercial applications that result from its research.
Maryland continues to invest in education in order to prepare the State for growth in sectors requiring highly educated workers. In the nation, Maryland ranks first in the percentage of professional and technical workers and is poised to gain both defense and nondefense contracts for medical research, aircraft development, and security.
As of June 8, 2016, Maryland still retains its AAA bond rating. It is one of only eleven states to achieve this highest award.
Among Maryland cities, Baltimore significantly contributes to the State's economy. The IESE Business School at the University of Navarra in Spain ranked Baltimore no. 18 of world cities on its 2016 annual "Cities in Motion Index." The ranking is based on ten categories, including economy, governance, urban planning, technology, environment, and transportation. In July 2014, Fodor's Travel ranked Baltimore as one of the "World's 15 Best Waterfront Cities."
With 181,320 workers in 2015, Maryland tech employment density is the fourth highest in the nation. Aiding the State's growth is the InvestMaryland Program, which added $84 million to Maryland's high-tech base during Fiscal Year 2012, and is overseen by the Maryland Venture Fund Authority.
Federal agencies located in Maryland have been a catalyst for the State's technology base. These include the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Goddard Space Flight Center, and Department of Defense operations. Advanced technology enterprise is especially strong in telecommunications, computer sciences, and biotechnology.
Innovations in Maryland's economy are bolstered by research parks which facilitate joint research among universities, State and federal government institutions, and private industry. These parks include: The Johns Hopkins Bayview Campus (life sciences research) in Baltimore; and Shady Grove Life Sciences Center (biomedical & life sciences research) in Montgomery County. Also significant are the Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, both affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University. The research park and technology center at University of Maryland Baltimore County (bwtech@umbc) on the Catonsville campus opened in 1996 to support life sciences and high technology research, and high technology business development. In addition, the University of Maryland Baltimore County leads a consortium of universities and private sector companies to develop the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology. Center faculty and staff collaborate with Goddard scientists in studying the earth's surface, atmosphere, and oceans.
In 2014, Maryland ranked second among states in the Milken Institute's State Technology and Science Index. The Index examines research and development inputs, risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure, human capital investment, technology and science workforce, and technology concentration.
Located on the Eastern seaboard, Maryland is in an ideal location for trade. Accessible through the Chesapeake Bay and the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, the Port of Baltimore is the closest East Coast port to the Midwest. It is one of only two Eastern U.S. ports where the main shipping channel reaches a depth of 50 feet. The Port also links to several major interstate highways. Cargo leaving the Port of Baltimore by truck is within an overnight drive of two-thirds of America's population.
World Trade Center (a pentagonal building), 401 East Pratt St., Baltimore, Maryland, February 2008. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Four foreign trade zones (federally mandated, duty-free sites) are found in Maryland. They are located at the Collington Business Center near Bowie in Prince George's County (#63); near BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport in Anne Arundel County (#73); and Baltimore Harbor (#74); and seven sites in Washington County (#255). Maryland also has 28 State Enterprise Zones, and a Federal Empowerment Zone. All zones offer economic or tax incentives for businesses.
Transportation Infrastructure. Maryland's transportation infrastructure wisely uses the State's location to support trade. Indeed, the Port of Baltimore, the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, two primary class I rail carriers (CSX Transportation & Norfolk Southern), and several arterial interstate highways facilitate commerce.
Agriculture plays a vital role in Maryland's highly diversified economy. Of Maryland's over 6 million acres of total land area, more than 2 million acres are farmland. In 2014, Maryland's gross cash income from commodity receipts and other farm-related activities was approximately $2.7 billion, and the net farm income exceeded $590 million.
Grain silos, Wye Mills (Queen Anne's County), Maryland, September 2007. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Oyster shells, Shady Side, Maryland, October 2011. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Maryland's plan to revitalize older developed areas and discourage sprawling development into the State's rural areas, is overseen by the Smart Growth Subcabinet.
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