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[photo, Tugboat, Curtis Bay, Baltimore, Maryland]








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.

In 2011, Maryland still retains its AAA bond rating. It is one of only eight states to achieve this highest award.

[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, more than 2 million acres are farmland. In 2009, Maryland's total farm production revenue exceeded $1.65 billion. Of this, $640 million came from poultry sales, accounting for 40% of the State's total agricultural value.

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. In 2009, the catch of Maryland's fisheries was valued at $76 million.

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


Maryland leads the nation in sector growth for computer systems design, and related fields, as well as management, scientific and technical consulting. In 2009, these subsectors added almost 10,000 jobs to the State workforce.

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 Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology Center. 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 2010, Maryland exports surpassed $10 billion, up from $9.23 billion in 2009. The greatest importers of Maryland products were Canada, the Netherlands, and China. Canada imported the most, purchasing 15.6% of Marylandís total exports.

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.

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 (5,011,505 est. in 2009) resides within the densly populated corridor between Baltimore and Washington, DC. The corridor is a 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 (#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. In both interstate and freeway miles, Maryland's highly developed transportation infrastructure is ranked sixth nationally.

Sources for this data and additional information about Maryland's economy are available from the Department of Business and Economic Development, and the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation. Socio-economic data about Maryland may be found through the Research and State Data Center, Department of Planning. Regional economic data may be found at the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.

Information about Smart Growth, Maryland's plan to revitalize older developed areas and discourage sprawling development into the State's rural areas, is accessible through the Office of Smart Growth, within the Department of Planning.

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 Maryland Manual On-Line, 2011

August 9, 2011   
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