Regional Economy

Greater Baltimore is a region comprised of Baltimore City and six surrounding counties (Anne Arundel, Baltimore County, Carroll, Cecil, Harford and Howard) and encompasses more than 2,500 square miles of land. Over 2.8 million people reside in the region, making the area the 21st largest metro area in the United States. See here for more details.

The region is a key economic center for the State and home to numerous prominent businesses of all sizes. Residents enjoy a relatively high per capita income and employers find a highly-educated workforce. Greater Baltimore still provides a relatively low cost of living, compared to other major metro areas, and it is well-connected to urban regions along the Northeast Corridor. Since last measured in 2015, Greater Baltimore produced an annual Gross Metropolitan Product of $181.42 billion.


Greater Baltimore has consistently performed better than the US average in terms of employment and unemployment. The region's diverse industry base, concentration in strong and growing industries, and talented workforce allow the region to continue to grow and develop.

As of November 2016, Greater Baltimore ranks tenth among the twenty five largest US metros in terms of its unemployment rate, which sits at 4.2 percent, below the US average (4.6 percent). Since 2006, Greater Baltimore employment has grown by 6.12 percent overall. 

Top Employment

The region’s top employers come from a wide range of industries and span both the public and private sectors. Below are examples of our top employers. Download our full top employers spreadsheet for more information. In addition, the Maryland Department of Commerce reports top employers statewide and by county.

  • The region’s top military institutions, Fort George G. Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground, employ over 50,000 people.
  • The top three health care companies, Johns Hopkins Health System, University of Maryland Health System and MedStar Health, employ roughly 54,000 people.
  • IT and defense contractors Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, CSC, Booz Allen Hamilton and Textron Systems employ over 15,600 people.
  • Retailers and distributors like Wal-Mart, UPS, Giant Food, Home Depot and Target employ over 46,000 people.

Industry and Occupations

Greater Baltimore is home to a diverse base of industries that continue to grow and develop. Healthcare, Financial Services, Information Technology, Defense, Education and Life Sciences/Biotechnology are some of the key growth sectors that make up the region’s economy. See our Key Industries page for more details.

The talent pool in the region is as diverse as the industrial makeup. The primary occupations held by Greater Baltimore workers are in legal, management, architecture, engineering, business and financial operations, computer and mathematical science, and life, physical and social science.

Download the full industry and occupation reports for more information.