The state of business in Maryland

According to the big picture of a yearly study, business is good in Maryland. However, some of the specific details reveal a mixed bag of progress and certain levels of concern two years into the administration of Gov. Larry Hogan.

CNBC’s annual list of America’s best states for business ranked the Old Line State 25th, up five spots from the previous year after leapfrogging over six other states in 2015.

In spite of jumping 11 total spots in two years, specific category rankings were mixed, particularly for Hogan whose primary initiative as the state’s chief executive has been to improve the state’s business climate and economy.

While Maryland improved in five categories, it also dropped in five others.

Significant Progress

The biggest increase came from the state’s economy, ranking seventh, an increase from 23 last year. Access to capital also jumped in ranking from 26 to 15.

Infrastructure and quality of life each increased one spot, ranking 43rd and 26th respectively.

Technology and innovation, a particular focus of the governor, ranked fourth, the state’s highest placement in that category and up from fifth last year. This may be a reflection of the governor implementing a program to accelerate growth for biotech and cybersecurity companies.

Areas Of Concern

The largest decrease saw the state’s business friendliness ranking drop seven spots to 40. Education also fell 11 spots to 25, the biggest drop for any category. The governor has been the target of criticism in the past for favoring private and charter schools over public institutions, even denying public schools the maximum allotments of state funding.

Maryland also dropped one spot to 11 for workforce and sixth to 44th for cost of living, while remaining steady at 48 in the cost of doing business category.

CNBC’s study considered 60 measures of competitiveness. From there, it separates the metrics into ten categories, weighed on their frequency of use as a selling point in marketing materials promoting state economic development.

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