Rhode Island Q1, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 38,687 employers, up 2.8% from 37,623
  • 474,348 employees, up 1.1% from 469,452
  • $1,104 average weekly wage, up 1.8% from $1,084
  • The average weekly wage is 6.8% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 22.5% above the national average

Employer & Employee Growth

In the last year, the number of employers in the state increased by 1,064, which is an increase of 2.8%. The number of employees in Rhode Island increased by 4,896, an increase of 1.1%. During this same period, the average weekly wage increased by $20, an increase of 1.8%.

The number of private employers increased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses increased by 1,043 or 2.8%. Growth in private businesses in Rhode Island grew slower than the national average of 3.0%. The number of employees in these businesses increased since last years' Q1, increasing by 3,963 or 1.0%. The growth in employees of private businesses in Rhode Island was slower than the national average of 1.7%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses increased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage increased by $22 or 2.1%. Growth in average weekly wage of employees of private businesses in Rhode Island grew slower than the national average of 3.0%.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Professional services with 14.4% of the businesses in the state. The number of businesses in this sector increased by 5.9%. Healthcare (10.2%), which increased by 1.9% and Retail trade (9.9%), which decreased by 0.8%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Utilities512.2%
Arts and entertainment416.9%
Transport and warehousing526.7%
Professional services3135.9%
Real estate and rental625.5%
Educational services355.5%
Manufacturing815.2%
Accommodation and food services1524.9%
Waste services1073.7%
Construction1323.6%
Other services862.5%
Healthcare721.9%
Agriculture and forestry31.7%
Finance and insurance281.6%
Mining and oil extraction00.0%
Information-3-0.4%
Retail trade-29-0.8%
Wholesale trade-31-1.0%
Company management-23-7.2%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Healthcare with 17.0% of the employees in the state, had an increase in employees of 1.8% in the last year. Accommodation and food services (10.1%), increased by 5.8% and Retail trade (10.0%), decreased by 0.2%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Construction1,0506.2%
Accommodation and food services2,6345.8%
Transport and warehousing2832.8%
Other services4062.4%
Real estate and rental1181.9%
Healthcare1,4541.8%
Professional services4171.6%
Educational services3151.5%
Company management1601.2%
Information510.9%
Waste services1760.7%
Agriculture and forestry00.0%
Manufacturing00.0%
Mining and oil extraction00.0%
Wholesale trade20.0%
Retail trade-93-0.2%
Finance and insurance-375-1.4%
Utilities-74-5.7%
Arts and entertainment-1,714-21.8%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Company management paying $2,822per week compared with the state average of $1,082. Weekly wages in this sector declined by $153 or 5.1%. Finance and insurance ($2,478), declined by $18 or 0.7% and Utilities ($2,351) declined by $30 or 1.3% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Accommodation and food services$359.1%
Real estate and rental$697.5%
Professional services$986.5%
Waste services$354.9%
Other services$254.0%
Transport and warehousing$313.9%
Retail trade$223.5%
Healthcare$303.4%
Wholesale trade$483.2%
Construction$343.0%
Educational services$242.5%
Information$392.5%
Agriculture and forestry$00.0%
Manufacturing$00.0%
Mining and oil extraction$00.0%
Finance and insurance$-18-0.7%
Utilities$-30-1.3%
Company management$-153-5.1%
Arts and entertainment$-43-7.2%


Leading Industries

Businesses by Industry

Each broad sector is made up of specific industries. In Rhode Island. the industry with the most businesses is Restaurants and other eating places with 6.4% of the businesses in the state (with 2,493 employing 36,426 workers). The Restaurants and other eating places industry had 113 more businesses, an increase of 4.7% in the last year. Computer systems design and related services (4.2% of businesses) added 118 businesses, an increase of 7.8% and Wholesale trade agents and brokers (3.2% of businesses) had 133 fewer businesses, a decline of 9.7% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Coffee and tea manufacturing480.0%
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing1275.0%
Toilet preparation manufacturing266.7%
Beef cattle ranching farming and feedlots266.7%
Amusement arcades466.7%
Nonchocolate confectionery manufacturing360.0%
Collection agencies654.5%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Computer systems design and related services1187.8%
Restaurants and other eating places1134.7%
Management consulting services10213.6%
Services for the elderly and disabled707.7%
Residential building construction626.3%
Private households448.7%
Landscaping services355.1%


Employees by Industry

Computer systems design and related services (4.2% of employees) added 118 employees, an increase of 7.8% and Wholesale trade agents and brokers (3.2% ofemployees) had 133 fewer employees, a decline of 9.7% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Cable and other subscription programming484.4%
Book publishers877.8%
Noncitrus fruit and tree nut farming1872.4%
Vending machine operators6263.0%
Snack food manufacturing4452.4%
Motion picture and video production13352.1%
Book and periodical merchant wholesalers2149.2%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
General medical and surgical hospitals7044.0%
Medical and diagnostic laboratories28127.3%
Plumbing and hvac contractors2628.1%
Colleges and universities2442.1%
Restaurants and other eating places2440.7%
Residential building construction1666.5%
School and employee bus transportation1647.0%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

Computer systems design and related services ($4) and Wholesale trade agents and brokers ($3) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Computer systems design and related services ($4 per week) were paid $118 more per week, an increase of 7.8% and Wholesale trade agents and brokers ($3 per week) were paid $133 less per week, a decline of 9.7% round out the 3 industries that pay their employees the most.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change %
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Social science and humanities research$2,648238.6%
Fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers$1,718185.7%
Spectator sports$1,215143.4%
Media representatives$671138.9%
Medical and diagnostic laboratories$41042.7%
Other services related to advertising$17842.3%
Securities brokerage$1,17837.2%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Social science and humanities research$2,648238.6%
Fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers$1,718185.7%
Investment advice$1,22431.5%
Spectator sports$1,215143.4%
Securities brokerage$1,17837.2%
Media representatives$671138.9%
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing$57520.0%


Company Size

Rhode Island Businesses by Size

The solopreneur company, has the most businesses in Rhode Island by far. 65.3% of all businesses in the state have fewer than 5 employees. The 36,572 small businesses in the state represent 96.3% of all private businesses. The national average is 92.9%. (Small businesses have fewer than 50 employees, Solopreneurs employ fewer than 5.) Rhode Island added 1,043 businesses in the last year, an increase of 2.8% as compared to the national average of 3.0%.

Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added 1,040 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 2.9% as compared to the national average of 3.1%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. These mid-sized businesses added 5 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 0.4% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. These large businesses declined 2 businesses in the last year, which is a decrease of 3.9% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.



Rhode Island Employees by Business Size

Rhode Island added 11,890 employees in the last year, an increase of 3.0% as compared to the national average of 5.2%. Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added 9,924 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 37.2% as compared to the national average of 4.2%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. Mid-sized businesses added 1,668 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 1.1% as compared to the national average of 4.7%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. Large businesses added 298 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 0.5% as compared to the national average of 9.2%.

Rhode Island Avg Weekly Wages by Business Size

The smallest companies in Rhode Island (those with fewer than 5 employees) pay workers 11.0% more than the national average ($1,129 per week as compared to the national average of $1,005 per week). The largest companies in Rhode Island (those with more than 1,000 employees) pay 27.8% workers below the national average ($1,497 per week as compared to the national average of $1,913 per week).

Average weekly wages in small businesses added $168 per week in the last year, which is an increase of 4.8% as compared to the national average of 3.1%. Employees of mid-sized businesses added $94 in wages per week in the last year, which is an increase of 2.8% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Employees of large businesses added $-94 of weekly wages in the last year, which is an increase of -2.8% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.



Data Sources




About the Writer

This page was created and is maintained by Kurt Tietjen, Founder of Stavera, High Peak Media & HomeGearWorks.com. Kurt is an executive, data scientist and software engineer who holds an MBA in Management Information Systems. In 2010, he partnered with scientists at Northwestern University to launch The Street Wire. This was one of the first mainstream uses of what would become “Narrative Science”, an artificial intelligence platform specializing in natural language generation. You can contact Kurt on LinkedIn here.