R.I. adds 1,045 manufacturing jobs in 2013, first gain since 2000
GENERAL DYNAMICS Electric Boat, which constructs the Virginia class submarine pictured above at its facility in North Kingstown, was the top manufacturing employer in the state in 2013 and contributed to a 1.8 percent increase in manufacturing employment.
EVANSTON, Ill. – Rhode Island gained 1,045 manufacturing jobs between December 2012 and December 2013, the state's first year-over-year increase in manufacturing employment in 13 years, according to a report released Monday by the Rhode Island Manufacturers Register.
The register, an industrial directory and database published by Manufacturers’ News Inc. in Illinois, showed a 1.8 percent increase in the number of manufacturing jobs located in Rhode Island during the 12 months ended in December, the first positive gain in manufacturing employment in the Ocean State since 2000.
Manufacturers’ News reported that Rhode Island is now home to 1,765 manufacturers employing 59,092 workers.
“High business costs, automation and outsourcing have adversely affected Rhode Island’s manufacturing sector for over a decade,” said Tom Dubin, president of Manufacturers’ News, which has been surveying the industry since 1912. “[Last] year’s gain hopefully marks a turnaround for the state, as exports continue to rise.”
Electric Boat was the No. 1 manufacturing employer in Rhode Island last year, according to Manufacturers’ News, employing 2,627 people at its Quonset facility.
Employment in the rubber and plastics industry grew 5.3 percent last year, while primary metals employment increased 4.6 percent; stone, clay and glass working increased 3.5 percent; furniture and fixtures employment increased 2.7 percent; and food products employment increased 2 percent.
Jewelry making, once among Rhode Island’s chief industrial sub-sectors, posted an employment gain of 4.7 percent in 2013 following several years of decline. Last year, Providence-based jewelry retailer Alex and Ani placed at No. 45 on Inc. Magazine’s list of the top 100 job creators in the country. Alex and Ani added 267 new jobs in the 18 months ended in October 2013, bringing its total payroll to 330 employees.
Industrial machinery and equipment remains the state’s top sector by employment with 5,869 jobs, but the sector posted a 3.2 percent decline in employment for 2013. The fabricated-metal manufacturing sector employs the second-highest number of people, with 5,856 jobs, which declined 1.6 percent over the year. Third-ranked instruments and related products accounted for 4,535 jobs last year, an increase of 2.5 percent over 2012.
Sectors reporting losses included lumber and wood, which fell 6.1 percent, and paper products, which fell 2.2 percent.
Providence remained the state’s top city for manufacturing employment, Manufacturers’ News said. The capital city accounted for 8,424 of Rhode Island’s total 59,092 jobs in 2013, with no significant change reported compared with the year prior.
Pawtucket ranked second with 6,462 manufacturing jobs, a decline of 4.2 percent over the year. At No. 3, North Kingstown’s manufacturing employment rose 14.3 percent to 5,679 jobs, while Cranston (No. 4) rose 2.6 percent to 5,169 jobs. Industrial jobs declined 3.8 percent in Warwick (No. 5) to 4,573 jobs as of December 2013.
Detailed profiles of all Rhode Island manufacturers and distributors can be found in the 2014 Rhode Island Manufacturers Register, available in print or online. For more information, contact Manufacturers’ News at (847) 864-7000 or visit www.manufacturersnews.com.