Rhode Island Q4, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 39,028 employers, up 1.8% from 38,339
  • 490,594 employees, up 0.7% from 487,244
  • $1,099 average weekly wage, up 1.1% from $1,087
  • The average weekly wage is 7.3% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 19.4% above the national average

Employer & Employee Growth

In the last year, the number of employers in the state increased by 689, which is an increase of 1.8%. The number of employees in Rhode Island increased by 3,350, an increase of 0.7%. During this same period, the average weekly wage increased by $12, an increase of 1.1%.

The number of private employers increased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses increased by 672 or 1.8%. Growth in private businesses in Rhode Island grew slower than the national average of 2.5%. The number of employees in these businesses increased since last years' Q1, increasing by 1,997 or 0.5%. The growth in employees of private businesses in Rhode Island was slower than the national average of 1.2%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses increased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage increased by $10 or 1.0%. Growth in average weekly wage of employees of private businesses in Rhode Island grew slower than the national average of 3.8%.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Professional services with 14.8% of the businesses in the state. The number of businesses in this sector increased by 4.9%. Healthcare (10.2%), which increased by 2.1% and Construction (9.8%), which increased by 1.4%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Utilities511.4%
Mining and oil extraction16.7%
Educational services375.6%
Professional services2704.9%
Agriculture and forestry84.4%
Arts and entertainment233.7%
Waste services963.2%
Manufacturing452.8%
Transport and warehousing222.7%
Other services762.2%
Healthcare842.1%
Accommodation and food services501.6%
Construction541.4%
Information91.3%
Real estate and rental50.4%
Finance and insurance20.1%
Retail trade-24-0.6%
Wholesale trade-59-2.0%
Company management-26-8.6%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Healthcare with 16.8% of the employees in the state, had an increase in employees of 2.1% in the last year. Accommodation and food services (10.4%), increased by 0.8% and Retail trade (10.0%), decreased by 1.9%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Arts and entertainment4837.1%
Transport and warehousing5234.7%
Construction4372.2%
Healthcare1,6352.1%
Educational services4352.0%
Wholesale trade2501.5%
Accommodation and food services3950.8%
Professional services1570.6%
Other services650.4%
Finance and insurance00.0%
Manufacturing00.0%
Mining and oil extraction00.0%
Agriculture and forestry00.0%
Real estate and rental-28-0.4%
Utilities-5-0.5%
Waste services-522-1.7%
Retail trade-952-1.9%
Company management-314-2.3%
Information-266-4.3%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Utilities paying $2,148per week compared with the state average of $1,056. Weekly wages in this sector declined by $302 or 12.3%. Finance and insurance ($1,992), rose by $94 or 5.0% and Company management ($1,823) declined by $820 or 31.0% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Professional services$986.0%
Real estate and rental$565.7%
Finance and insurance$945.0%
Construction$574.5%
Waste services$324.3%
Healthcare$404.1%
Information$584.0%
Retail trade$213.3%
Other services$223.2%
Wholesale trade$453.0%
Arts and entertainment$162.8%
Educational services$272.7%
Accommodation and food services$102.3%
Transport and warehousing$50.6%
Mining and oil extraction$00.0%
Manufacturing$00.0%
Agriculture and forestry$00.0%
Utilities$-302-12.3%
Company management$-820-31.0%


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 6.3% of the businesses in the state (with 2,475 employing 38,508 workers). The Restaurants and other eating places industry had 29 more businesses, an increase of 1.2% in the last year. Computer systems design and related services (4.5% of businesses) added 125 businesses, an increase of 7.7% and Wholesale trade agents and brokers (2.9% of businesses) had 124 fewer businesses, a decline of 9.8% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Other electrical equipment and component mfg.375.0%
Tire and tube merchant wholesalers375.0%
Health and welfare funds466.7%
Food crops grown under cover763.6%
Pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing1150.0%
Toilet preparation manufacturing250.0%
All other wood product manufacturing240.0%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Computer systems design and related services1257.7%
Management consulting services12114.7%
Services for the elderly and disabled777.9%
Landscaping services375.1%
Employment placement and executive search3018.4%
Restaurants and other eating places291.2%
Private households285.3%


Employees by Industry

Computer systems design and related services (4.5% of employees) added 125 employees, an increase of 7.7% and Wholesale trade agents and brokers (2.9% ofemployees) had 124 fewer employees, a decline of 9.8% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers359298.7%
Food crops grown under cover76164.0%
Health and welfare funds775.9%
Local messengers and local delivery13570.6%
Roofing and siding merchant wholesalers4361.9%
Breweries8147.2%
Office administrative services49845.7%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
General medical and surgical hospitals5623.1%
Office administrative services49845.7%
Fruit and vegetable merchant wholesalers359298.7%
Medical and diagnostic laboratories30530.0%
Elementary and secondary schools2584.4%
Services for the elderly and disabled1925.4%
Restaurants and other eating places1920.5%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

The industry that pays their employees the most is Portfolio management, paying $8,159 compared with the state average of $1,056. Employees in the Portfolio management industry were paid $1,520 more per week, an increase of 22.9% in the last year. Miscellaneous intermediation ($5,565) and Health and welfare funds ($3,919) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Miscellaneous intermediation ($5,565 per week) were paid $222 more per week, an increase of 4.2% and Health and welfare funds ($3,919 per week) were paid $796 less per week, a decline of 16.9% round out the 3 industries that pay their employees the most.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change %
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Medical and diagnostic laboratories$1,585162.9%
Spectator sports$88660.2%
Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers$86757.1%
Sporting goods stores$24150.1%
Research and development in the physical engineering and life sciences$79342.0%
Other specialized design services$65941.3%
Furniture merchant wholesalers$96136.5%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Medical and diagnostic laboratories$1,585162.9%
Portfolio management$1,52022.9%
Furniture merchant wholesalers$96136.5%
Spectator sports$88660.2%
Mortgage and nonmortgage loan brokers$86757.1%
Research and development in the physical engineering and life sciences$79342.0%
Electrical equipment manufacturing$66534.0%


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 91.2%. (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%.

Top Industries for Business and Employment

The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of businesses:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Businesses
Industry# Businesses% Change
Restaurants and other eating places2,4751.2%
Computer systems design and related services1,7437.7%
Wholesale trade agents and brokers1,146-9.8%
Residential building construction1,0572.3%
Services for the elderly and disabled1,0467.9%
Management consulting services94414.7%
Offices of lawyers781-0.3%
Landscaping services7585.1%
Accounting and bookkeeping services5870.9%
Offices of physicians578-4.8%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of employees:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Employees
Industry# Employees% Change
Restaurants and other eating places38,5080.5%
General medical and surgical hospitals18,7313.1%
Management of companies and enterprises13,122-2.3%
Colleges and universities12,9681.1%
Nursing care facilities skilled nursing9,9590.6%
Temporary help services9,131-7.0%
Supermarkets and other grocery stores8,767-0.9%
Offices of physicians8,4410.5%
Commercial banking8,406-0.3%
Computer systems design and related services7,453-0.4%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by highest wages:

Table: Top 10 Industries by Weekly Wage
IndustryWkly Wages% Change
Portfolio management$8,15922.9%
Miscellaneous intermediation$5,5654.2%
Health and welfare funds$3,919-16.9%
Furniture merchant wholesalers$3,59236.5%
Investment advice$3,41117.7%
Securities brokerage$3,315-2.0%
Port and harbor operations$2,8780.0%
Electric power generation$2,6850.0%
Research and development in the physical engineering and life sciences$2,68342.0%
Electrical equipment manufacturing$2,62334.0%




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.