Compared with Mid-Atlantic sister cities such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., Baltimore’s pivotal role in America’s history—as well as its present—remains unsung. More than 300 years ago, the city was established as a major port of trade; today, its modern seaport is the second largest in the Mid-Atlantic.
The Baltimore-Towson MSA comprises a rapidly expanding network of public and private entities. Tens of millions of tourists flock to Baltimore each year to visit the city’s historical attractions and neighborhoods, and some of the most prominent institutions of business and government have headquarters in the area. These economic forces act as a wellspring for hotel demand.
Finance, education, healthcare, government, and energy play major roles in Baltimore’s economy. Important entities and developments in each sector are described below. National and multinational companies in Baltimore include Legg Mason, Morgan Stanley, and Transamerica.
Baltimore is also home to the prestigious Johns Hopkins University system, the University of Maryland-Baltimore, and smaller schools such as the University of Baltimore, Loyola University, and Notre Dame of Maryland University. Higher-education expenditures in Baltimore amount to $1,900 per capita per year, which reportedly translates into $15.2 billion in spending. Colleges and universities in the Baltimore-Towson MSA enroll close to 110,000 full-time students and sustain 84,660 jobs, comprising 6.7 percent of the metropolitan area’s total workforce.
The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, Baltimore’s largest employer and one of the nation’s premier healthcare institutions, includes specialized facilities such as the Brady Urological Institute, the Wilmer Eye Institute, the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the John Hopkins Children’s Center. A $1.1-billion cardiovascular and critical-care tower and the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Children’s Center were added in 2012. The not-for-profit University of Maryland Medical System provides a complete range of medical services to more than 300,000 patients each year and generates an economic impact of nearly $3.5 billion. The ongoing expansion of the university’s Baltimore campus includes a $200-million cancer treatment center, which is expected to open as part of the University of Maryland BioPark in 2015.
U.S. government and military operations near Baltimore include the Social Security Administration, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Fort Meade. The National Security Agency (NSA), headquartered at Fort Meade, heads the U.S. Cyber Command, which began operations in May of 2010. Military contractors like Northrop Grumman Corporation reinforce the government’s contribution to the Baltimore area’s economy.
Airport and Tourism
Passenger traffic at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) has remained relatively stable over the last several years. Southwest, BWI’s largest carrier, announced plans to join other carriers in increasing flights and locations serviced from the airport in the near future. A $100-million renovation of the airport’s central section includes enhanced concourse connections in 2013, and the State of Maryland announced a $125-million project to construct a connector between Concourses D and E, providing additional capacity for international service by the fall of 2016.