Defense industry added $3.75B to R.I. economy last year
THE DEFENSE SECTOR is the highest paying industry in Rhode Island, with an average annual wage of $110,900 among civilian employees working for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center, as shown in Figure 3 above. Figure 2 depicts a breakdown of Rhode Island's private defense contractor industry by number of direct jobs per sector.
NORTH KINGSTOWN – Rhode Island’s defense industry contributed $3.75 billion to the state’s economy in 2013 and supported as many as 33,806 jobs statewide, according to a report released Tuesday by the R.I. Defense Economy Planning Commission.
The U.S. Department of Defense and defense contractors directly employ 16,082 people in Rhode Island and support an additional 17,724 jobs, representing 6.4 percent of total employment in the state, the report said. The defense economy generated $1.93 billion in income for Rhode Island households last year as well as $106 million in tax revenue for the state.
“Rhode Island cannot afford to lose these jobs or to suffer setbacks in an industry that has been one of our state’s strengths,” said Sen. Louis P. DiPalma, D-Middletown, who co-chairs the commission, at a news conference held Tuesday at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Quonset. “We need to show that this industry is not only a vital part of the state’s economy, but also essential to the nation’s security.”
Since federal budget cuts known as sequestration went into effect in early 2013, the number of civilians directly employed by the Department of Defense in Rhode Island dropped to 4,252 in 2013 from 4,445 the year before.
The $3.75 billion added to the Rhode Island economy in 2013 by the military and defense contractors represented 7.1 percent of the state’s total gross domestic product last year, the Defense Economy Planning Commission report found.
The defense sector is also the highest-paying industry in Rhode Island, with an average annual wage of $110,900 among civilian employees working for the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, or 155 percent higher than the average wage for all Rhode Island non-farm employees.
In the private sector, defense industry workers in Rhode Island made an average $70,019 annually, 61 percent higher than the average wage among all non-farm industries and 37 percent higher than the average wage in the state’s manufacturing industry.