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Guide to Howard County 2020: Business and jobs

Andy Cheng, chief scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), is co-lead investigator on the Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, or DART. The model is of a binary asteroid. DART is NASA's first defense mission to deflect an asteroid heading for the earth into another orbit by smashing a spacecraft into it. APL is building the system.
Andy Cheng, chief scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), is co-lead investigator on the Double Asteroid Redirection Test mission, or DART. The model is of a binary asteroid. DART is NASA's first defense mission to deflect an asteroid heading for the earth into another orbit by smashing a spacecraft into it. APL is building the system.(Kim Hairston / HANDOUT)

Location, quality of life and a pro-business environment are three of the reasons more than 10,000 companies call Howard County home, creating upwards of 170,000 jobs. The county has more than 70 million square feet of office, industrial and flex space, according to the Howard County Economic Development Authority.

Howard County is among the wealthiest jurisdictions in the nation with a median household income of $117,730. A little more than one-quarter of county residents commute to Washington, about 20 miles south, while about a third commute to Baltimore, 10 miles northeast. Many local companies recruit workers from both metropolitan areas, which, combined, form the fourth-largest business market in the United States.

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Industries in the county include professional business and scientific services, information technology, advanced manufacturing and health care services, according to the economic development authority.

The Port of Baltimore is 20 minutes from the county seat, and BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport is even closer.

Business resources

Howard County Economic Development Authority: 410-313-6500, hceda.org

Howard County Chamber of Commerce: 410-730-4111, howardchamber.com

BWI Business Partnership: 410-859-1000, bwipartner.org

Baltimore Metropolitan Council: 410-732-0500, baltometro.org

Maryland Governor’s Office of Small, Minority and Women Business Affairs: 410-697-9600, goma.maryland.gov

Maryland Small Business Development Center: 301-403-8300, marylandsbdc.org

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Howard County business at a glance

Population: 323,196

Jobs: 160,200

Private businesses: 9,985

Major employers*

  • Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory: 7,200 employees
  • Howard County General Hospital: 1,765 employees
  • Verizon: 1,700 employees
  • Howard Community College: 1,410 employees
  • Lorien Health Systems: 1,190 employees
  • Columbia Association: 1,180 employees
  • Coastal Sunbelt Produce: 1,050 employees

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Maryland Department of Commerce

*Excludes post offices, state and local governments, national retail and national food service; includes higher education

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