Maryland/DC manufacturing picks up steam as Baltimore losses slow
Posted by IndustryNet on Thursday, August 31, 2017
According to new Maryland industry data released this week by IndustryNet, manufacturing employment in the Maryland/DC region inched up over the past year, led by strong growth in the state’s pharmaceutical and food processing industries.
IndustryNet, reports Maryland industry jobs edged up by about 300. Though not a big increase, this year’s gain is still significant given that it’s the first the region has seen in several years.
The Maryland/DC region struggled to add jobs in the years following the recession. According to IndustryNet data, Maryland industry shed 16,000 jobs or about 8% of its workforce since May of 2009. More than half of these losses occurred in the Baltimore region, which plummeted by 9,000 jobs over that time frame.
Baltimore manufacturing on the upswing?
Recent data shows, however, that Baltimore may be poised for a turnaround. Though the city’s manufacturing employment did inch down one percent over the year, this is negligible compared to the double-digit losses of the past, suggesting a slowdown in layoffs and plant closures. At the same time, a number of new projects have been announced in the city, ranging from highly innovative enterprises to nuts-and-bolts type operations.
Emergent Biosolutions recently doubled capacity at its vaccine manufacturing and packaging facilities in Baltimore, with plans to add hundreds of employees over the next several years, and Holly Poultry, a Baltimore-based chicken processing facility, recently announced plans to ramp up hiring, adding an additional 150 employees over the next couple years.
At the start of the year, Maryland governor Larry Hogan announced the “More Jobs for Marylanders Act”, a comprehensive plan to increase manufacturing investment by eliminating state taxes for new manufacturers relocating to certain high-unemployment cities like Baltimore.
The plan also includes intensive workforce development and apprenticeship programs, along with numerous other tax credits. The Act has been called “The most significant support from state government for manufacturing and for job seekers in decades,” by the Regional Manufacturing Institute of Maryland, and will hopefully draw more manufacturers to areas like Baltimore.
Pharmaceuticals, biotech thrives in Maryland
MNI data shows the region’s industrial growth over the past year was fueled by continued gains in the pharmaceutical industry. Employment in Maryland/DC’s chemical processing sector, which includes pharmaceutical manufacturing, rose 1.6% – a significant gain given that chemicals processing is the region’s second-largest by number of industrial jobs, accounting for more than 19,000 jobs.
Aside from a growing biotech and pharmaceutical sector, the Maryland/DC region benefits from a stronghold in a few key industries like food processing and transportation equipment. Food processing employment in the region climbed 2% over the past year, and transportation equipment surged 11%.
Bright spots included the establishment of Mama’s Biscuits’ new gourmet biscuit manufacturing facility in Frederick. In addition, Textron Systems expects demand for drone manufacturing at its Cockeysville facility to thrive in the coming years as it ventures into the commercial market.
Other boons to the region’s industrial sector included the expansion of EVAPCO, Inc.’s industrial refrigeration products plant in Taneytown, and Knorr Brake Co’s recent announcement of its plans to expand its Westminster facility, eventually adding 200 jobs.
Skilled workforce a top asset, but business costs, global competition remains a challenge
Maryland benefits from a robust and innovative economy, with some serious investment made in high-tech endeavors. The region’s greatest asset remains its educated and highly-skilled workforce, which continues to serve its pharma sector, and has become more and more crucial for today’s advanced manufacturing.
At the same time, business costs in the region are among the highest in the nation, as is its cost of living, Lagging infrastructure is a concern, and global competition continues to plague its industrial sector.
MNI data shows industrial employment losses in the region, though small, were suffered in sectors most vulnerable to global competition, such as electronics, fabricated metals, primary metals, and furniture.
By the Numbers
Maryland/D.C’s 4,256 industrial companies employ 183,035 workers. Here’s a breakdown of MNI's numbers:
The top five industries in Maryland/DC based on number of jobs:
1. Printing/Publishing: 30,022 jobs
The top five cities for number of manufacturing jobs:
1. Baltimore: 28,724 jobs
The top five industrial companies in Maryland/DC by number of employees:
Northrop Grumman Corporation (Linthicum) - 6,800 employees
For more information on manufacturers in Maryland and the D.C. Metro Area
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Related Companies: BD Diagnostic Systems, Emergent BioSolutions, Inc., EVAPCO, Inc., Holly Poultry, Inc., Knorr Brake Co., LLC, Northrop Grumman Corp., Textron Systems Corp., Under Armour, Inc., W. L. Gore & Assocs., Inc.
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