Maryland’s economy is powered by science and technology, federally funded research, federal agencies and laboratories, and major research universities, like Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland. It has one the highest concentrations of Ph.D. scientists, computer scientists and aerospace engineers in the nation. Biopharm and aerospace are prosperous industries in the state. At the same time, Maryland supports agriculture and food and beverage production, advanced manufacturing, and a thriving transportation and logistics industry.
Maryland was first to map the human genome; first to develop a rapid test for Ebola; and first to create an FDA-approved blood test for colon cancer. With the presence of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, the state is a world-class center for biopharmaceutical research. Maryland is an international leader in adult stem cell production and vaccine research, with additional strengths in biodefense, nutraceuticals, genomics, therapeutics, medical devices, and regenerative medicine and health IT.
Maryland is a launching pad for innovations in space exploration, environmental science and severe-weather forecasting, as well as Department of Defense-related fields such as biodefense, cybersecurity, avionics, informatics, UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems), and weapons and ordnance testing. Fifteen of the top 20 aerospace and defense companies are located in Maryland. With 350 research centers, 20 military facilities and over 60 federal agencies, Maryland exceeds $15 billion in federal R&D contracts each year.
With a temperate climate and especially fertile farmland, Maryland produces a broad array of agricultural products through family farms and large-scale farming and aquaculture. The state also generates forest products – wood for homebuilding, furniture and paper – as well as millions of pounds of seafood from Chesapeake Bay fisheries. Agribusiness is thriving. Maryland is home to the nation’s largest spice producer, McCormick. The craft beverage industry has tripled in size in recent years, now with 168 businesses.
With a mid-Atlantic coastal location, access to international markets and a sophisticated transportation infrastructure, Maryland is a nexus of distribution-related operations. Major distribution companies are headquartered in Maryland, generating 9,135 jobs and $22 billion in GSP (Gross State Product). Maryland has five major interstate highways, two Class 1 railroads and access to four international airports. The Port of Baltimore ranks No. 1 in the nation in handling cars and trucks and in roll-on/roll-off cargo. It is one of only four East Coast ports that can handle the largest container ships in the world.