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Understanding Maryland’s Economic Competitiveness: Spotlight on Manufacturing

Dec 6, 2023

The information provided below is based on data from our 2023 Competitiveness Redbook. Please check back soon for an updated analysis of our 2024 data.

As a pillar of Maryland's economy, the manufacturing sector provides critical high-paying employment opportunities and fuels innovation statewide. The state ranks highly in manufacturing worker productivity, hourly wages and investment per employee. This reflects the strength and value manufacturing brings to Maryland.

Economic Indicator Spotlight: Examining the Manufacturing Sector in Maryland

What the data is telling us:

Maryland outpaces the region in manufacturing wages.

  • The data: In Maryland, production workers in manufacturing make an average of $27.91, ranking the state 11th in the nation in this area.
  • Why it matters: A robust manufacturing sector provides quality jobs that support families, drive economic growth and promote innovation. The data indicates that Maryland's manufacturing sector is relatively strong compared to neighboring states and the nation overall. Higher wages reflect a more skilled, productive workforce, as well as stronger labor demand — but the above-average wages come with a tradeoff - they can deter manufacturers from locating in Maryland vs. other states with lower labor costs and wages.

Maryland’s manufacturing sector is highly productive and efficient.

  • The data: Maryland ranks in the top five states in the nation for the value added per hour in manufacturing, with an estimated value added per hour of $199.24.
  • Why it matters: Maryland's top 5 ranking for value added per manufacturing hour shows its advanced manufacturing sector is highly productive and efficient. This translates to several economic advantages for the state, including the creation of investment and job opportunities. In addition, this signals that Maryland can produce quality goods at lower costs and that manufacturing firms have more resources to invest in research, development and innovation.

Maryland manufacturers invest significantly in workforce and equipment.

  • The data: Maryland ranks 17th when it comes to the annual average investment made per employee in manufacturing, with an average investment per employee of $11,560 and expenditures of more than $1.1 billion for machinery and equipment.
  • Why it matters: This level of investment suggests that companies in Maryland are committed to enhancing their operations through investments in training, technology, and processes. Such investments can lead to improved productivity, increased competitiveness, and the creation of more jobs. It demonstrates a forward-looking approach by businesses to stay innovative and efficient, which ultimately contributes to the overall growth and success of Maryland's economy.

Key Takeaways

The manufacturing industry is crucial for economic development, providing high-wage jobs, driving innovation and improving the standard of living. It is critical we continue nurturing the growth of this important sector through supportive policies designed to strengthen the state's competitiveness in this area.

Maryland ranks favorably in terms of wages per hour for production workers in manufacturing, ranking 11th nationally. Higher wages attract skilled workers, leading to a more productive and innovative workforce, promoting economic growth, reducing income inequality, and benefiting workers, their families, and other businesses in the economy. However, the above-average wages come with a tradeoff — they can deter manufacturers from locating in Maryland versus other states with lower labor costs and wages.

Maryland also excels in terms of value added per hour in manufacturing, ranking in the top five states nationally. This high value added per hour reflects the state's ability to produce high-quality products efficiently, attracting investment, generating job opportunities, fostering innovation and contributing to overall economic growth.

Maryland's manufacturing industry demonstrates a commitment to innovation and efficiency, as indicated by the significant annual average investment per employee in manufacturing. These investments enhance operations, improve productivity, increase competitiveness, and create more jobs, contributing to the long-term growth and success of Maryland's economy.

Data Sources

  • U.S. Census Bureau, 2020

Additional Reading