Gov. Larry Hogan has been describing Maryland's economy in dismal terms for a long time, but as he delivered his first State of the State speech Wednesday, he made a startling new claim that Maryland was the worst state in the United States for manufacturing.
"We're number three in the nation in foreclosures, and dead last in manufacturing," he told the General Assembly.
The governor is wrong.
Maryland may not have the nation's most robust manufacturing sector, but it's not at the bottom.
Hogan's staff, asked whether they could support the claim, provided a chart from the National Association of Manufacturers showing Maryland ranking 7th from the bottom among the states. Not great, but hardly dead last.
The worst three states in terms of manufacturing, measured as a percentage of state domestic product, were Alaska, Hawaii and Nevada.
Hogan would have been correct if he had said -- as his staff pointed out -- that Maryland is last in the Mid-Atlantic region and lower than any state in the Northeast except New York.
The governor's staff was able to provide supporting data for one of his other claims: that Maryland's economy was ranked 49th out 50 states. However, the context for that figure was not explained.
Maryland ranked 49th, with no growth, behind only Alaska, which posted a decline, in the growth of its economy during 2013.
The low ranking was a reflection of the Washington region's dependence on the federal government at a time of budget sequestration and a government shutdown. The District of Columbia showed an 0.5 percent decline, while Virginia grew by only 0.1 percent to come in 48th.