From agriculture and manufacturing to military contracting and natural gas production, Maryland's economy is diverse.

And it is this broad spectrum of enterprising activity -- which also encompasses the offices of 21 federal government agencies in Montgomery County and the services performed at the Port of Baltimore -- that continues to allow Maryland to weather the national economic recession better than most states.

"We have one of the most educated workforces in the country," said Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele. "And this is not just a result of being close to the federal government. It's in the private sector, too. We are becoming a hub for biotechnology.

"We have a very unique blend of academic and business cultures that stimulate the economy."

But this synergy does not apply solely to educated workers, Steele said.

"If you are an entrepreneur, there are a wide variety of distinctive opportunities for men and women who have a strong desire to move to Maryland to succeed."

Here is a list of Maryland's top 25 public and private employers, ranked by number of in-state workers -- many of whom are based in the Baltimore region and help contribute to the metropolitan area's diverse economy.

1. Giant Food Inc.: 27,000
Founded in 1936 in the District of Columbia, Giant Food is now a member of the international Royal Ahold grocery chain. Giant serves the Baltimore/Washington market area and the Delaware Valley regions of New Jersey and Delaware.
6400 Sheriff Road
Landover, Md. 20785
Phone: 310-341-4100

2a. Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions: 22,000
One of the nation's premier providers of health-care services, the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions include: The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Johns Hopkins Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and The Kennedy Krieger Institute.
600 N. Wolfe St.
Baltimore, Md. 21287
Phone: 410-955-5000