[photo, Tugboat, Curtis Bay, Baltimore, Maryland]
  • High Tech Base
  • Maryland Business Express
  • Port of Baltimore

  • Department of Commerce
  • Maryland Department of Labor
  • Department of Planning
  • 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 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.

    As of July 29, 2019, Maryland still retains its AAA bond rating. It is one of only twelve states to achieve this highest award.

    In 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked Maryland no. 6 in their "Best States" list, which ranks each state based on eight categories: crime and corrections, economy, education, fiscal stability, health care, infrastructure, natural environment, and opportunity.

    [photo, Under Armour Global Headquarters, 1020 Hull St., Baltimore, Maryland] 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. 77 of world cities on its 2018 annual "Cities in Motion Index." The ranking is based on nine categories, including economy, environment, governance, technology, transportation, and urban planning. In July 2014, Fodor's Travel ranked Baltimore as one of the "World's 15 Best Waterfront Cities."

    Under Armour Global Headquarters, 1020 Hull St., Baltimore, Maryland, June 2019. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.


    In 2018, Maryland ranked third among states in the Milken Institute's
    State Technology and Science Index for its ability to foster and sustain a technology sector, which is considered a major indicator in determining a state's economic health. The Index examines human capital investment, research and development inputs, risk capital and entrepreneurial infrastructure, human capital investment, technology and science workforce, and technology concentration.

    The Bloomberg U.S. Innovation Index in 2018 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 2018, Maryland was ranked 4th in the WalletHub Innovation Index of Most Innovative States.

    With 184,076 workers in 2017, Maryland ranked fifth for concentration of tech industry employment in the total workforce. Moreover, in 2017, Maryland was ranked sixth in the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation's State New Economy Index, which evaluates state economies on 25 factors, including globalization and innovation. Maryland also ranked in the top ten of "Innovation Champions" by the Consumer Technology Association.

    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.

    [photo, World Trade Center (a pentagonal building), 401 East Pratt St., Baltimore, Maryland]


    In 2018, Maryland exports were valued at $12.1 billion (
    State Exports via Maryland, U.S. Census Bureau). Trade to countries specifically targeted, such as Japan, Italy, and Morocco, grew by 200.9%, 194.%, and 182.7%, respectively. Key exports include liquefied natural gas and civilian aircraft and parts.

    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.

    Maryland borders the District of Columbia (the nation's capital), and is within hours by land of New York, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Nearly 90% of the State's population (5,773,552 in 2010) resides within the densly populated corridor between Baltimore and Washington, DC. The corridor is part of the Washington-Baltimore-Northern Virginia Combined Statistical Area, the fourth most populated such area in the nation.

    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.

    [photo, CSX coal freight train, Wagners Point, Baltimore, Maryland] 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.

    CSX coal freight train, Wagners Point, Baltimore, Maryland, September 2018. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Grain silos, Wye Mills (Queen Anne's County), Maryland]

    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 2018, Maryland's gross cash income from commodity receipts and other farm-related activities remained at approximately $2.5 billion, but the net farm income dropped to $539 million.

    Grain silos, Wye Mills (Queen Anne's County), Maryland, September 2007. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Oyster shells, Shady Side, Maryland] Commercial Fishing. In addition to agriculture, Maryland's commercial fishing activities in the Chesapeake Bay add a unique feature to its diverse economy. The harvesting of blue crabs, clams, and oysters are essential in the economic contribution of the Chesapeake Bay. The Bay provides half of the nation's blue crab harvest, and the seafood industry adds nearly $600 million to Maryland's economy. Some 4,545 commercial watermen work throughout the State.

    Oyster shells, Shady Side, Maryland, October 2011. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.

    [photo, Commercial building near Somers Cove, Crisfield, Maryland] 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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