Maryland's economy has been influenced recently by structural changes in the economy of the nation: less national defense spending and defense subcontract work; reductions in federal employment; and corporate acquisition. Major Maryland employment sectors, such as finance, insurance, and professional services, have restructured and downsized. Partly due to defense downsizing and international competition, realignments in manufacturing also have affected the State's economy. Despite these setbacks, Maryland corporations have streamlined operations and restructured debt to remain competitive. State government also has been fiscally responsible and retains its AAA bond rating.

Since 1994, Maryland's international markets have expanded through the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and trade agreements administered by the World Trade Organization (formerly known as the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade or GATT). The agreements and lowering of tariffs on Maryland goods help increase exports of instruments, electronics, chemicals, transportation equipment, and industrial machinery, as well as high technology.

Maryland became a part of a federally designated Consolidated Metropolitan Statistical Area (CMSA) in 1992. Using commuting patterns, development, and other criteria, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget merged the Baltimore and Washington areas, a region with 6.7 million people, into a single economic market creating the fourth largest economic market in the nation, after New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The Area stretches from the Eastern Shore to the Shenandoah Valley and from the Pennsylvania line to the suburbs of Richmond.

Scientific and technological research leading to product development plays an important role in the State's economy. Federal agencies located in Maryland such as 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 have been a catalyst for the State's technology base. Advanced technology enterprise is especially strong in telecommunications, computer sciences, and biotechnology. The combination of State support and a highly educated citizenry has made Maryland among the top four states housing biotechnology companies.

New research parks facilitate joint research among universities, State and federal government institutions, and private industry. These parks include: The Johns Hopkins Bayview Campus in Baltimore (life sciences research); and Shady Grove Life Sciences Center in Montgomery County (biomedical and life sciences research) which holds the Center for Advanced Research in Biotechnology, part of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute. Other members of the Institute are the Center of Marine Biotechnology, the Medical Biotechnology Center, the Center for Agricultural Biotechnology, and the Maryland Sea Grant College. Also significant are the Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, both affiliated with The Johns Hopkins University. University of Maryland Baltimore County Research Park (life sciences & high technology research) on the Catonsville campus has completed its first phase of construction.

In 1996, the services sector, with 31.1% of the total, was the largest employer in Maryland, followed by retail trades (19.4%), government (18.8%), and manufacturing (8.0%). The services sector consists mainly of establishments, such as computer firms, hotels, auto repair shops, janitorial services, and hospitals. The largest concentration of service industries is found in Montgomery County, where, in 1996, some 38.7% of the work force was employed in services. The largest concentration of manufacturing is found in Dorchester County where it employs 33.8% of the workforce and constitutes 37.3% of the payroll.

Maryland ranks sixth among the states in per capita income for 1996.

Additional information about Maryland's economy is available from the Department of Business and Economic Development, and the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation.

1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
Maryland $522 $532 $546 $560 $582
U.S. $498 $507 $518 $535 $557 (est.)

1992 1993 1994 1995 1996
Maryland $23,609 $24,400 $25,405 $26,547 $27,618
U.S. $20,631 $21,365 $22,180 $23,348 $24,426

Allegany County $17,068
Anne Arundel County $24,282
Baltimore City $26,206
Baltimore County $21,233
Calvert County $21,631
Caroline County $15,816
Carroll County $23,070
Cecil County $19,118
Charles County $21,480
Dorchester County $17,652
Frederick County $21,671
Garrett County $14,780
Harford County $21,092
Howard County $29,221
Kent County $22,267
Montgomery County $35,536
Prince George's County $22,645
Queen Anne's County $22,934
St. Mary's County $18,571
Somerset County $14,549
Talbot County $29,751
Washington County $17,701
Wicomico County $19,030
Worcester County $22,381

Source: Department of Labor, Licensing, & Regulation

Maryland at a Glance

Maryland Manual On-Line

 Maryland Manual On-Line, 1998

July 10, 1998   
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