Tugboat, Curtis Bay, Baltimore, Maryland, August 2000. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
In 2020, Maryland's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was $422.7 billion, 15th in the nation, and down from $426.7 billion in 2019. The largest sector in 2020 was finance, insurance, and real estate, followed by government, and then professional and business services.
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 second 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.
In 2021, several Maryland companies ranked among the nation's 500 largest companies in the annual Fortune 500 list. These include Lockheed Martin (49), Discovery Communications (290), Marriott International (293), T. Rowe Price (447), Sinclair Broadcast Group (465), and McCormick (482).
As of August 3, 2021, Maryland still retains its AAA bond rating. It is one of only thirteen states to achieve this highest award.
In July 2021, Maryland ranked as the most improved state for business in CNBC's listing of America’s Top States for Business.
Under Armour Global Headquarters, 1020 Hull St., Baltimore, Maryland, June 2019. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
According to CompTIA’s Cyberstates 2021 report, Maryland ranked seventh for concentration of tech jobs in the total workforce with 297,993 workers, 10.7% of overall employment. As of 2020, there were some 16,416 tech businesses in Maryland. The tech industry contributes $44.7 billion, or 12.2%, to Maryland's economy.
Moreover, in 2020, Maryland ranked fourth in the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation's State New Economy Index, which evaluates state economies on 25 factors, including economic dynamism, globalization, and innovation. Maryland also joined the top fifteen of "Innovation Champions" on the Consumer Technology Association's Innovation Scorecard.
The Bloomberg U.S. Innovation Index in 2019 ranked Maryland fifth in the nation. The Index evaluates states in six categories, including clusters of technology firms, patent activity, people with science and engineering degrees, productivity, research and development intensity, STEM employment.
In 2019, Maryland was ranked 4th in the WalletHub Innovation Index of Most Innovative States. These rankings are based on 24 "innovative-friendly" indicators, including number of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professionals as well as research and development (R&D) spending.
In 2019, CSO United States, an IDG Communications publication, placed Maryland fifth in its list of Top 10 Global Cybersecurity Hubs.
In 2015, Maryland was ranked third in the nation in "Innovation & Entrepreneurship" by the U.S. Department of Commerce in its annual Enterprising States report. Maryland ranked first for concentration of businesses and jobs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
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.
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 one-third 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.
CSX coal freight train, Wagners Point, Baltimore, Maryland, September 2018. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Agriculture plays a vital role in Maryland's highly diversified economy. Of Maryland's over 6 million acres of total land area, nearly 2 million acres are farmland. In 2020, gross cash income from commodity (crop & animal) receipts and other farm-related work was approximately $2.43 billion, while net cash income was about $359 million, or $28,936 per farm. Total production expenses were approximately $2.26 billion ($182,325 per farm), while net farm income exceeded $325.7 million ($26,271 per farm). In 2020, the cash receipts of all agricultural products totaled approximately $1.96 billion.
Grain silos, Wye Mills, Maryland, September 2007. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Oyster shells, Shady Side, Maryland, October 2011. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
Sources for this data and additional information about Maryland's economy are available from the Department of Commerce, and the Maryland Department of Labor. Socio-economic data about Maryland may be found through the Projections and State Data Center, Department of Planning. Regional economic data may be found at the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
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.
Commercial building near Somers Cove, Crisfield, Maryland, June 2018. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
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